Printer Friendly

Scientists discover microbe that can clean toxic spills at industrial sites.

Byline: ANI

Washington, June 12 (ANI): In a new study, scientists have identified a new microbe that can gorge themselves on toxic chemicals in petrochemical spillages at industrial sites, by digesting hydrocarbons.

As part of the study, Hong-Qi Wang and Yan-Jun Chen College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, working with Bo-Ya Qin of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China, have investigated the activity of enzymes from the bacterium Bacillus cereus DQ01, which can digest the hydrocarbon n-hexadecane.

The bacterium was initially isolated from the Daqing oil field in North East China where it had evolved the ability to metabolize this chemical.

Bioremediation of hydrocarbons usually involves the application of a cultured bacterium that has been optimized to feed on the specific contaminants, such as particular hydrocarbons.

The microbes are cultured first in the presence of sugar or another standard feedstuff in conjunction with a small amount of the pollutant material.

Successive generations are fed an increasing proportion of the pollutant until their growth is optimized for digestion of that compound rather than the sugar.

These optimized microbes are applied to the contamination site or spill in large but controlled volumes and digest their way through the pollutant material, multiplying and digesting until no pollutant remains.

The byproducts are non-toxic carbon dioxide (CO2) and water, and mineralized matter.

The team has now found the optimal conditions for the Daqing microbe to feast on hydrocarbon, which could point the way to a more effective approach to bioremediation of spill sites.

The key step in the degradation of hydrocarbons normally depends on the presence of a multi-component enzyme system, the team explained.

Understanding exactly which components are needed for degradation and the temperature and pH of the soil best suited to the process could help researchers develop the perfect microbial cleanup culture.

The team has now found that enzymes within the microbial cell and in its membrane inner membrane are responsible for degradation of n-hexadecane.

The team found that neutral pH and a temperature of 30 Celsius are optimal for the microbe to produce the main degradation enzyme.

They also point out that adding a small amount of a surfactant material, rhamnolipid, can also stimulate enzyme production and improve degradation efficiency. (ANI)

Copyright 2009 Asian News International (ANI) - All Rights Reserved.

Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
COPYRIGHT 2009 Al Bawaba (Middle East) Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Asian News International
Date:Jun 12, 2009
Words:388
Previous Article:Animated PowerPoint presentations negatively impact lecturers' messages.
Next Article:Queen admires Windsor 'Sandcastle' during Weymouth visit.
Topics:


Related Articles
Local candidate for toxin patrol.
BIO FOSTERS BIOTECH LINK WITH INDUSTRY, ENVIRONMENT.
Blowfly inspires novel cleansing.
Antarctic microbes clean up petroleum pollutants.
Bacterial solution to arsenic pollution.
Scientists identify microbes that can increase plant growth.
Bringing biolubricants to industry.
'Rock-breathing' bacteria could be used to generate electricity and clean up oil spills.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters