Genetic Improvement of Duckweed (Lemma Gibba) Wastewater Treatment

EPA Grant Number: R823570
Title: Genetic Improvement of Duckweed (Lemma Gibba) Wastewater Treatment
Investigators: Stomp, Ann-Marie
Institution: North Carolina State University
Current Institution: North Carolina State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 26, 1995 through June 25, 1998
Project Amount: $143,962
RFA: Exploratory Research - Environmental Biology (1995) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Biology/Life Sciences , Health , Ecosystems


The objective of the proposed research is to develop gene transfer methods critical for genetically engineering duckweed (Lemna gibba), an aquatic plant used for wastewater treatment. Both biolistic and Agrobacterium-mediated transformation methods will be explored. Having the capability to genetically engineer this ubiquitous, fast-growing plant will establish the necessary technological foundation upon which to build a new approach to wastewater remediation based on the use of plants (phytoremediation). Plant-based systems for wastewater remediation have advantages over physical, chemical or bacterial systems in that they are self-supporting, due to photosynthesis, therefore reducing engineering complexity and maintenance and subsequently, cost. With gene transfer methods in hand we will be able to genetically engineer strains of duckweed that can act as pollution indicators, that can degrade specific organic compounds, or that can sequester heavy metal or radioactive ions in aqueous solution. A number of genes needed to begin this genetic engineering work have already been cloned from a number of organisms. The bottleneck for using these genes for wastewater clean-up is a gene transfer system in an aquatic plant. If phytoremediation systems can be brought to field application, they will offer states, municipalities, industry and government installations, in short anyone with the responsibility for wastewater clean-up, a new, low-maintenance, publicly acceptable "green" water pollution abatement technology, which is less environmentally damaging and cheaper than older, physical/chemical methods, reducing the economic strain (thus facilitating compliance) of wastewater monitoring and clean-up.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Ecology, Remediation, Wastewater, Chemistry, Bioremediation, Engineering, aquatic ecosystem, agrobacterium, plant-based remediation, wastewater remediation, biodegradation, genetically modified organism, biotechnology, genetic engineering, environmental engineering, gene transfer, waste chemicals, effluents, phytoremediation, adaptive technology, aqueous waste stream

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1995
  • 1996
  • Final Report