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:11/15/2016)... 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: SYN), ... the gut microbiome, today announced the pricing of ... its common stock and warrants to purchase 50,000,000 ... to the public of $1.00 per share and ... the offering, excluding the proceeds, if any from ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... , Nov. 14, 2016  Based ... identification market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes FST ... Sullivan Award for Visionary Innovation Leadership. FST ... the biometric identification market by pioneering In ... solution for instant, seamless, and non-invasive verification. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ANGELES , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identity management and verification solutions, has partnered ... edge software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service ... provides products that add functional enhancements ... partnership provides corporations and venues with an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016  Biotheranostics today announced that new data ... Breast Cancer Index (BCI) in identifying which patients ... at-risk for disease recurrence and might benefit from ... studies advancing the understanding of the value of ... and inform decisions related to patient treatment. These ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Washington, USA, and CARDIFF, UK (PRWEB) , ... ... ... circuits with very high precision light to control cells — optogenetics — is ... In the current state of the art, spatially patterned light projected via free-space ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... December 8, 2016 Oxford Gene ... customisable SureSeq™ NGS panel range with the launch of the ... cost-effective study of variants in familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The panel ... detection on a single small panel and allows customisation by ... includes all exons for LDLR , P ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, ... ... announces the commercial launch of flexible packaging for their exceptionally efficient human ... bag system extends RoosterBio’s portfolio of bioprocess media products engineered to radically ...
Breaking Biology Technology: