Navigation Links
Microbes transform 'safest' PBDEs into more harmful compounds

Bacteria in the soil can transform the most commonly used flame retardant compound in the United States into more toxic forms that could be harmful to humans, according to a new laboratory study published today on the Web site of the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology. The study is scheduled to appear in the July 15 print issue of the journal.

The finding, by a team of environmental engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests these transformations could complicate efforts to reduce or eliminate the most problematic polybrominated diphenyl esters (PBDEs) from the environment.

"This study, for the first time, establishes that microbes found in every-day settings can degrade relatively stable forms of PBDEs, making them far less stable and potentially more toxic," says Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, Ph.D., the study’s corresponding author. "It implies that current and planned bans of the most toxic forms of PBDEs may be ineffectual if the less toxic forms are rendered more toxic when released into the environment."

In laboratory animals, high blood levels of PBDE are associated with cancer, lowered immunity, thyroid problems, and learning and memory difficulties. Although PBDE levels in people haven’t reached the levels of laboratory animals, Alvarez-Cohen says scientists are concerned because they are rising in humans at an exponential rate, doubling every two to five years.

In 2004, U.S. manufacturers reached a voluntary agreement with the EPA to stop making and selling penta-BDEs and octa-BDEs, two potent forms of PBDEs linked to health problems in animals. Deca-BDE, the most commonly used form of PBDE, remains on the market because it is considered more stable and less readily absorbed into the body, Alvarez-Cohen says. Laboratory studies, however, have shown that over time, both deca- and octa-BDEs can break down into potentially more harmful forms, including penta- and tetra-BDE s.

This new study supports the notion that this process also could occur in the real world, raising concerns about the continued manufacture and use of deca-BDEs, Alvarez-Cohen says. In their study, Alvarez-Cohen and her colleagues exposed octa-BDE and deca-BDE to five types of anaerobic bacteria commonly found in the soil. Based on previous research with other compounds, they anticipated that the bacteria would break down deca-BDEs into benign components. Instead, the microbes transformed deca-BDEs into octa-BDEs and the octa-BDEs into the more harmful penta- and tetra-BDEs.

"Now that we understand that certain PBDEs found in the environment can be transformed into more toxic forms, we need to make more intelligent policy decisions with respect to how, or even if, we should use these compounds," Alvarez-Cohen says.

PBDEs are used in televisions, computers, wire insulation, upholstery and many other products containing plastic and foam. If these products overheat, PBDEs release atoms called bromines that sap oxygen from the air, preventing a fire. Over time, PBDE’s can leach into the air, soil and sediment, and move up through the food chain. These compounds have been detected in fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products and even household dust.

The American Chemical Society ?the world’s largest scientific society ?is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

?Doug Dollemore
'"/>

Source:American Chemical Society


Related biology news :

1. Researchers Discover That Microbes Can Produce Miniature Electrical Wires
2. Microbes under Greenland Ice may be preview of what scientists find under Mars surface
3. Microbes convert Styrofoam? into biodegradable plastic
4. Microbes hitchhike across Atlantic on desert dust
5. Microbes compete with animals for food by making it stink
6. Microbes start immune response by sneaking inside cells
7. Introduced foxes transformed vegetation on Aleutian Islands from lush grasslands to tundra
8. UCLA scientists transform HIV into cancer-seeking missile
9. Stem cells from brain transformed to produce insulin at Stanford
10. Virtual animal shelters ?How the Internet is transforming the experience of pet adoptions
11. Carnegie Mellon U. transforms DNA microarrays with standard Internet communications tool

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/18/2016)... , March 18, 2016 ... Suppliers of Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure ... & security companies in the border security market and the ... and Europe has led visiongain ... companies improved success. --> defence & security ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , March 15, 2016 ... a new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital ... Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital ... at US$ 731.9 Mn in 2014 and is forecast to ... to 2023. Growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... MELBOURNE, Florida , March 14, 2016 ... on the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of ... York channels starting the week of March 21 st . ... and CNBC, including its popular Squawk on the Street show. ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market, announces the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The ... fracture-specific plating options designed to address fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. ... The Acumed Ankle Plating System 3 is composed of seven plate families that ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Scientists at the University of Athens say they have evidence that the ... research that could lead to one good one. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted an ... The team evaluated 98 mesothelioma patients who got a second kind of ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. ... the company’s orphan drug designation request covering BHV-4157 for the treatment of Spinocerebellar ... FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a rare, debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that is ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... Last week, ... for corporate executives and entrepreneurs, held The Future of San Diego Life Science event ... San Diego life science community attended the event with speakers Dr. Rich Heyman, former ...
Breaking Biology Technology: