Currently, there has been limited use of genetic engineering for waste treatment. In this work, we are developing a procedure for the in situ treatment of toxic organophosphate wastes using the enzyme parathion hydrolase. Since this strategy is based on the use of an enzyme and not viable microorganisms, recombinant DNA technology could be used without the problems associated with releasing genetically altered microorganisms into the environment. The gene coding for parathion hydrolase was cloned into a Streptomyces lividans, and this transformed bacterium was observed to express and excrete this enzyme. Subsequently, fermentation conditions were developed to enhance enzyme production, and this fermentation was scaled‐up to the pilot scale. The cell‐free culture fluid (i.e., a nonpurified enzyme solution) was observed to be capable of effectively hydrolyzing organophosphate compounds under laboratory and simulated in situ conditions.
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