Development of aromatic dehalogenases as a tool to remediate halogenated aromatic pollutants

EPA Grant Number: SU836121
Title: Development of aromatic dehalogenases as a tool to remediate halogenated aromatic pollutants
Investigators: Kharel, Madan Kumar
Institution: University of Maryland - Eastern Shore
EPA Project Officer: Sergeant, Anne
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals

Objective:

The main objective of our proposed project is to develop an environmentally friendly system to expedite the biodegradation of hard-to-degrade environmental pollutants, particularly halogenated aromatic compounds (HACs). Agrochemicals such as herbicides (Atrazine) and pesticides (Chlorpyrifos) have been routinely used in the farms to maintain good agricultural productivity. However, many of chemicals are resistant to degradation under the normal environmental conditions. The routine release of such chemicals and their persistence in the environment have been posing a serious risk both to public health and to the environment. This project is dedicated to developing a system to facilitate the degradation of these agrochemicals without causing additional negative environmental impact.
 

Approach:

Some bacterial species are known to produce enzymes (namely dehalogenases), which are capable of facilitating the early step of the degradation process. This project will investigate the activities of these enzymes to accelerate the degradation of agrochemicals of interests. One or more of such enzymes will be produced in soil dwelling bacteria and apply them to degrade the agrochemicals under simulated environmental conditions. Alternatively, newer version of enzymes will be engineered to improve their degradation efficiency.
 

Expected Results:

Use of a bacteria-based system that produces multiple enzymes (native or engineered) is expected to accelerate the degradation of agrochemicals of interests from both aquatic and terrestrial environment. The successful execution of this project will offer a solution to the current problem of environmental agrochemicals pollution, and contribute to sustainable agriculture.
 

Supplemental Keywords:

Bioremediation, Halogenated pollutants, P3 Challenge Area-Built Environment, P3 Challenge Area-Materials and Chemicals.