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[SANET-MG] bioremediation by adding gm bacteria to plants
In the article below plants remediate by adding GM bacteria. Several years ago
NASA published a study showing that house plants remove pollution from room
air.The reports are glowing that the GM bacteria may solve pollution
problems.The bacterium Burkholderia cepacia used in the study was once added to
water supplies in a Midwestern city to remove pollution.
The problem, not mentioned, was that Burkholderia cepacia isolated from soil
proved to be a deadly pathogen to Cystic fibrosis victims,to HIV victims to
transplant recipients , to infants and to older people. Why was this not
mentioned in the scientific reports? Why does biotechnology seem to select
favorable reports for publication?
April 12, 2004 scientific american
Plants Dispatched to Decontaminate Soil
Scientists have recruited plants in their fight against pollution. Specifically,
they have teamed the yellow lupine with modified bacteria that can break down
organic chemicals. According to a report in the May issue of Nature
Biotechnology, the combination is very effective at removing the toxic compound
toluene from soil. What is more, the bacteria break down the chemical within
the plant, resulting in a 70 percent reduction in the amount of toluene
released through its leaves.
To create the novel chemical-devouring duo, Daniel van der Lelie of Brookhaven
National Laboratory and his colleagues inserted the machinery to break down
toluene from one bacterium, Burkholderia cepacia G4, into a second type of
bacterium, B. cepacia L.S.2.4, which occurs naturally inside yellow lupine.
Toluene is a water-soluble organic compound that is widely used as a solvent
and is present in products such as paint thinner, nail polish remover and
adhesives. Plants containing the modified B. cepacia that were grown in
toluene-seeped soil showed no signs of toxicity, because the bugs protected
them. Plants lacking the modified bacteria can also draw toluene out of the
ground, but the chemical is later released from the leaves through evaporation.
Plants carrying B. cepacia, in contrast, returned far less toluene to the
Depending on the type of bacteria utilized, the approach can clear a variety of
pollutants. "Other applications we envisage include the use of engineered
endophytic bacteria to degrade pesticide and herbicide residues in crop plants,
addressing important food safety related issues," the scientists write. The
team?s next step is to expand the work to other types of trees--including
poplars and willows--to clean up contaminated groundwater. --Sarah Graham
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