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Soils Remediation by Microorganisms


Development of Novel Technology for Bioremediation of Soils Contaminated by Phosphorus Organic Weed Killers Using Microorganisms-Degraders

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-REM/Bioremediation/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Hamada S

Leading Institute
Research Center of Toxicology and Hygienic Regulation of Biopreparations, Russia, Moscow reg., Serpukhov

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, Russia, Moscow reg., Puschino


  • United States Department of Agriculture / Agricultural Research Service, USA, MD, Beltsville\nTexas A&M University, USA, TX, College Station

Project summary

The aim of the project is search and selection of high-effective strains of microorganisms- toxic phosphoroorganic compounds degraders and development of technology for bioremediation of polluted soils on their basis.

Wide and uncontrolled use of phosphoroorganic compounds (pesticides, herbicides and insecticides) has led to considerable pollution of the environment. An immediate task for Russia and a number of foreign countries, having large supplies of chemical weed-killers, is protection of the environment from their harmful influence, liquidation of overdue and idle preparations, clean up of polluted soils. Besides, great agricultural areas require bioremediation of contaminated soils.

Presently the greatest problem in degradation of phosphoroorganic compounds (POs) are POs, having hardly hydrolyzable direct C-P bond (methylphosphonic acid and its analogues, glyphosate or round-up, methylphosphonyldiphtorid and others), which is able to be decomposed by microorganisms however. This gives outlooks for development of new technologies for detoxification of these compounds in nature. Physical, chemical and biological methods for destruction of toxic chemical substances and bioremediation of polluted soils are currently used. The last ones are more preferable because of their ecological safety, low prime cost and quite a high efficiency, demonstrated time and again in settlement of various ecological tasks. The investigations for creating the biological technologies for the environmental protection from toxic chemical substances and industrial wastes, being carried out in Russia, European Union and USA, confirm the expediency of the research under the present project.

The analysis of published works is evidence of wide spreading in nature of microorganisms-degraders of toxic phosphoroorganic substances. While the proposed project implementation it is planned to discover such microorganisms, placing the emphasis on the phosphoroorganic compounds degraders with C-P bond, what is followed by selection of most promising and safe for the environment microorganisms-degraders. Toxicological examinations of the isolated cultures harmlessness for warm-blood animals and humans will be conducted in laboratory animals (white mice and rats). It is also planned to elaborate the optimal conditions for cultivation and to optimize the selected microorganisms’ degrading ability. The experiments on detection and description of the enzyme (or the enzyme complex), catalyzing the cleavage of C-P bond, clarification of localization and composition of C-P lyase, its catalytic and regulating properties, as well as the kinetic-thermodynamic ones, will be carried out. On the basis of the laboratory experiments, velocity and extent of toxic substances biodegradation will be evaluated and the parameters of biopreparations, which can be used for bioremediation of contaminated soils, will be determined.

It is supposed to conduct some field experiments on soils, contaminated by glyphosate, to assess the efficiency of POs biological decomposition in natural conditions using introducing bacteria strains.

The results, obtained during the project implementation, will be the basis for the biotechnology for bioremediation of soil contaminated by phosphoroorganic compounds. The biotechnology can be applied for clean up of areas contaminated by toxic chemical preparations used in agriculture and getting into the environment as the result of destruction of chemical weapons.

The collective of researches – the project participants – includes microbiologists, biochemists, toxicologists, chemists, ecologists and biotechnologists. They have a considerable experience in creating and testing various biological and chemical means of plant protection, and development of biotechnologies for soil bioremediation from polychlorinated biphenyls, phenols, polycyclic compounds, etc.

In RCT&HRB a collection of microorganisms- toxicant degraders is available, and the methods for assessment in laboratory animals of the isolated microorganisms harmlessness for warm-blood animals and humans have been elaborated. The scientists of the Center conduct investigations according to ISTC projects #228-96 and #1429 on development of the technologies for bioremediation of soils contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls and polyaromatic compounds. The methods for soil biotesting on integral toxicity have been developed.

Methods for selection of strains, able for biodegradation of wide range of xenobiotics, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as well as products of chemical weapons detoxication, chlorinated organic compounds, phosphoroorganic compounds, etc., have been worked out in IBPM. Scientists of this institute are experienced in soil bioremediation, isolation and study of phosphoric metabolism enzymes. The methods for determination of properties of microorganisms- xenobiotics degraders and for assessment of soil bioremediation efficiency have been worked out there. A well-equipped chemical analytical laboratory to study active conditions of microbial degradation and analysis of products of xenobiotical decomposition is available in IBPM.

As all the responsible performers of the project from RCT&HRB have been concerned with the development of the protective means against biological weapons, the project is fully in line with ISTC conversion tasks and purposes.

Foreign collaborators participation in the project could be the following:

· Information supply, creating of database and joint analytical reviews drawing up (for publishing in Russian and English);

· Consultation help on optimization of active conditions for POs’ biodegradation;
· Workshops on results of completed stages of the project;
· Independent laboratory experiments on checking the degrading abilities of isolated natural microorganisms, decomposing phosphoroorganic compounds;
· Joint field experiments on assessment of the biotechnology in the USA and Europe;
· Reviewing of articles and recommendations, prepared for publication;
· Preparation of papers on microorganisms strains and technologies for patenting in collaborators’ countries.


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ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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