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 How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>