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Could microbes solve Russia's chemical weapons conundrum?

centrations of each PHT derivative decreased significantly when P putida was grown in the presence of these carbon sources.

By the time the bacteria had stopped growing, the concentration of the PHT derivatives had de-creased by 50-55 percent. When further MEA and EG were added, the overall PHT decrease was 83 percent.

In the absence of a carbon source other than PHT, the PHT levels remained constant. When no bacteria were present, the PHT concentrations also remained constant.

The authors conclude that the 1,4-perhydrothiazines undergo transformation by the microbial cells when a growth substrate (MEA/EG) is present. However as the cells did not grow in the presence of PHT alone, the authors conclude that the bacteria cannot use them for growth.

The group hopes that the bacterial strain can be used in the context of plant-microbial associa-tions to create a new generation of biotechnologies for remediation of soils contaminated by CWAs or products of their detoxification.

"Bioutilization of organic compounds of reaction masses is a biotechnological method that pro-vides maximum environmental safety, since the pollutants are naturally degraded to innocuous products such as carbon dioxide and water, as well as microbial biomass," said Dr. Ermakova.

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Article: "Microbial degradation of the detoxification products of mustard from the Russian chemical weapons stockpile," Inna T Ermakova, Natalya S Safrina, Ivan I Starovoitov, Yelena V Lyubun, Alexander A Shcherbakov, Oleg E Makarov, Paul V Kosterin, and Alexander M Boronin, Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology; Published Online: March 2, 2005.


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Source:John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


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