Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UC Riverside scientists isolate microorganisms that break down a toxic pesticide

28.02.2003


Isolated purified bacterial (left) and fungal (right) strains decomposing endosulfan. (Photo credit: Judy Chappell.)


UC Riverside researchers Tariq Siddique, William Frankenberger and Ben Okeke with samples of isolated purified bacterial and fungal strains that decompose endosulfan. (Photo credit: Judy Chappell.)


Research is key step in detoxifying endosulfan toward improving soil and water quality

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside report in the Journal of Environmental Quality (JEQ) that they have isolated microorganisms capable of degrading endosulfan, a chlorinated insecticide widely used all over the world and which is currently registered to control insects and mites on 60 U.S. crops. JEQ, established in 1972, is published jointly by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

Bioremediation of contaminated sites and water bodies by using these microbial strains will provide an environment free of endosulfan toxicity, the researchers argue in their paper. The research stands to benefit the agrochemical industry and environmental agencies involved in remediation of soil and water contaminated with organochlorine pesticides. Currently, bioremediation is considered the most cost-effective technology to remediate contaminants, including pesticides. The usefulness of the new technology may be best measured economically in soil and water quality impacted by pesticide spillage, overdosing, and cleanup of agrochemical equipment.



Many health hazards are associated with endosulfan. Endosulfan is a persistent organic pollutant or "POP" that enters the air, water, and soil during its use and manufacture. Owing to the persistence in the environment, residues of endosulfan can enter the food chain and directly affect public health. Endosulfan’s residues have also been found in sediments and in surface and ground waters. Endosulfan affects the central nervous system, kidney, liver, blood chemistry and parathyroid gland and has reproductive, teratogenic (causing birth defects) and mutagenic (causing genes to mutate more frequently) effects.

"We have been successful in isolating strains that can use endosulfan as a carbon and energy source," said William Frankenberger, director of the UCR Center for Technology Development and professor of soil science and soil microbiologist at UC Riverside. "Pollutants are rapidly degraded by microorganisms when used as a carbon and energy source. Out of 10 microorganisms isolated and screened for their degradative capabilities towards endosulfan degradation, the strains we isolated - Fusarium ventricosum and Pandoraea sp. - degraded about 90% and 83% of 100 ppm endosulfan, respectively, in 15 days using the pesticide as a carbon and energy source. Other bacterial strains that we isolated using endosulfan as a sulfur source could degrade about 70% endosulfan."

Total average annual use of endosulfan is estimated at approximately 1.38 million pounds of active ingredient. Classified as an organochlorine (the same family of pesticide as DDT and dieldrin), endosulfan and its breakdown products are persistent in the environment with an estimated half-life of 9 months to 6 years. It is one of the most commonly detected pesticides in U.S. water (38 states).

"In isolating these microbial strains, various environmental samples were collected from different sites," said Frankenberger, who is one of the co-authors of the JEQ paper. "Enrichment techniques were used to isolate microbial strains which were capable of degrading endosulfan. The isolated microorganisms were intensively screened for their degradative capabilities towards endosulfan degradation, purified and identified by molecular tools."

The results of the study suggest that these strains are a valuable source of endosulfan-degrading enzymes and may be used for the detoxification of endosulfan in contaminated soils, wastedumps and water bodies, as well as agricultural dealership sites, waste water from recycling plants and unused or expired stockpiles of endosulfan.

This research was conducted in the Department of Environmental Sciences at UC Riverside during 2001-2002. The department offers B.S. and B.A. degrees in Environmental Sciences, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Soil and Water Sciences. The department is part of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. The forerunner of the department was an agricultural chemistry research unit in the world-renowned California Citrus Research Center and Agricultural Experiment Station established in Riverside in 1907.

Iqbal Pittalwala | UC Riverside
Further information:
http://www.newsroom.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/display.cgi?id=535

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>