Organophosphate Degrading EnzymesEPA Contract Number: EPD09013
Title: Organophosphate Degrading Enzymes
Investigators: Tabb, Joel
Small Business: Agave BioSystems, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Project Period: February 1, 2009 through July 31, 2009
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2009) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Agave BioSystems in collaboration with Carl A. Batt proposes to develop decon-nanoparticles, which will leverage ongoing opportunities in enzyme engineering and the fabrication of functionalized magnetic nanoparticles. Enhanced performance will be engineered into the system to improve the catalytic degradation of chemical agents. Through an iterative process optimizing the particles and the enzyme, Agave BioSystems will incrementally improve the overall system. Coupled with this effort will be a parallel effort to develop high production levels of the enzyme to ensure that the ultimate decontamination process is not only effective but also economically feasible. The system developed by Agave BioSystems also will have application for the degradation of a number of organophosphates, including those used as pesticides.
The use of enzymes for bioremediation has been the focus of intense academic and commercial interest for more than 20 years. Biological systems provide an attractive route to remediation of different sites contaminated by a variety of accidental and/or deliberate chemical agents. National expenditures in the early 1990s for environmental clean-up were more than $100 billion and these costs have increased exponentially since then. If effective catalysts can be found and means to deliver them effectively to the site of the contamination developed there is a huge opportunity for this market. Overseas markets also will expand as the global demand for green processes and the recovery of contaminated areas continues.