E. Coli Proves Helpful in Pollution Control

Apr 22, 2011, 08:42 by David Hope

E. coli bacteria, feared for its ability to cause food poisoning, could be used to extract pesticide vapors from polluted air, Chinese researchers say.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have discovered that a genetically modified form of the bacteria can be used in a biofilter to extract the toxic pesticides parathion and methyl parathion from the air, and article published in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution reported.

Junxin Liu and colleagues have demonstrated average removal efficiencies of 95.2 percent for parathion and 98.6 percent for methyl parathion, using a biofilter based on the engineered bacteria E. coli BL21, and say optimization could allow for 100 percent removal.

Parathion and methyl parathion are highly effective agrochemicals used in more than one-third of agricultural crop protection worldwide. However, they can accumulate in the environment and pose a risk to human health under some conditions, researchers said.

Source: UPI