HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
New discovery: If it weren't for this enzyme, decomposing pesticide would take millennia

CHAPEL HILL An enzyme inside a bacterium that grows in the soil of potato fields can -- in a split second -- break down residues of a common powerful pesticide used for killing worms on potatoes, researchers have found.

That may be expensive for farmers but lucky for the environment because University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists have now discovered that if that particular enzyme weren't there, it would take 10,000 years for just half of the widely used pesticide to decompose. And the chemical would remain in the soil of the potato fields where it is now used in colossal amounts, contaminating groundwater and posing a threat to human and animal health.

A report on the unusual discovery appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Monday (Oct. 24). Authors are Christopher M. Horvat, a UNC chemistry major from Spruce Pine, who plans to become a physician, and Dr. Richard V. Wolfenden, Alumni Distinguished professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine.

"The half-life of the pesticide is longer, by several orders of magnitude, than the half-lives of other known environmental pollutants in water," Wolfenden said. "The half lives of atrazine, aziridine, paraoxon and 1, 2-dichloroethane, for example, are five months, 52 hours, 13 months and 72 years, respectively."

In contrast, the half-life of the potato pesticide residue chloroacrylate -- 10,000 years -- matches the half-life of plutonium-239, the hazardous isotope produced in nuclear power plants, he said.

The bacteria Pseudomonas pavonaceae have evolved in the soil in which the potato pesticide 1, 3-dichloropropene is used and can grow on it as their only source of carbon and energy, the scientist said. The enzyme responsible for degrading the pesticide may have evolved since the chemical's first use on potato fields in 1946. Common names for the agricultural product are Shell D-D and Telone II.

"There is a
'"/>

Contact: David Williamson
rdtokids@email.unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
24-Oct-2005


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Biting discovery: MU entomologist finds host of new aquatic insect species in Thailand
2. New discovery: Molecular variation in one gene affects the growth of natural populations
3. The thrill of discovery: Pitt professor reveals how he gets students interested in science
4. The stem cells that werent there
5. Researchers create model of cancer-preventing enzyme, study how it works
6. Elevated inflammatory enzyme, Lp-PLA2, significantly linked to ischemic stroke
7. 100 percent of pregnant women have at least one kind of pesticide in their placenta
8. Premature births may be linked to seasonal levels of pesticides and nitrates in surface water
9. Mayo researcher discovers target site for developing mosquito pesticides
10. Fake pesticides threaten food safety
11. Most widely used organic pesticide requires help to kill

Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/16/2014)... monocultures can be cultivated efficiently, they are anything ... caused by monoculture cultivation is becoming increasingly evident. ... crop form and are regarded as the sole ... – quite wrongfully, finds Bernhard Schmid, an ecology ... a novel form of agriculture and forestry. After ...
(Date:10/16/2014)... women experienced improvements in vaginal atrophy, with no ... after 12 weeks of daily 10 milligram (mg) ... supplement previously shown to help relieve certain menopause ... reported in a poster at the North American ... "These data documented improved vaginal epithelium, without significant ...
(Date:10/15/2014)... 2014 Sandata Technologies, LLC, an industry ... care, today announced it released a case study ... Visit Verification™ Solution (EVV™)  for Quality Care Services, ... company founded in 1996 and has five locations ... The study details the challenges facing Quality ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Plant communities produce greater yield than monocultures 2Plant communities produce greater yield than monocultures 3S-equol supplements associated with improved measures of reproductive health in postmenopausal women 2Sandata Announces Case Study with Quality Care Services, Inc. 2
(Date:10/20/2014)... , Oct. 20, 2014 Mapp ... experimental ZMapp™ antibody therapeutic to fight the Ebola ... difficult and time-consuming the production of pharmaceuticals can ... research publisher said that while some may be ... this compound, those with industry knowledge are well ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... 2014 , A major pan-European ... the delivery of care has revealed changing trends in ... in the provision of healthcare services across the continent. ... United European Gastroenterology (UEG), have been announced today and ... of the burden of GI disorders across ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... 2014 Earle Martin , ... today that Ellen Teplitzky, an experienced attorney specializing ... pharmaceutical industry, has joined the firm as Director ... services practice. NDA Partners provides legal services, ... testimony, to top law firms and their clients ...
(Date:10/19/2014)... NextCODE Health, which enables clinicians and researchers to ... today announced the launch of its new genomic data analysis ... American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) annual meeting in ... and apply for free beta access, visit www.nextcode.com . ... be viewed here . The Exchange: ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Kalorama: ZMapp Highlights Need For Faster Biopharmaceutical Production 2Kalorama: ZMapp Highlights Need For Faster Biopharmaceutical Production 3Major Survey Reveals Changing Trends and Inequalities in Healthcare Provision for Gastrointestinal Disorders Across Europe 2Major Survey Reveals Changing Trends and Inequalities in Healthcare Provision for Gastrointestinal Disorders Across Europe 3Major Survey Reveals Changing Trends and Inequalities in Healthcare Provision for Gastrointestinal Disorders Across Europe 4Major Survey Reveals Changing Trends and Inequalities in Healthcare Provision for Gastrointestinal Disorders Across Europe 5NDA Partners Appoints Ellen Teplitzky, JD as Director of its Legal Services Practice 2The NextCODE Exchange: The first global, real-time system for sharing full-resolution genomic data 2The NextCODE Exchange: The first global, real-time system for sharing full-resolution genomic data 3
Cached News: