A Phytoremediation Strategy for Arsenic

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A Phytoremediation Strategy for Arsenic Progress Report May, 2005 Richard B. Meagher Principal Investigator Arsenic pollution affects the health of several hundred millions of people world wide, and an estimated 10 million Americans have unsafe levels of arsenic in their drinking water. However, few environmentally sound remedies for cleaning up arsenic contaminated soil and water have been proposed. Phytoremediation, the use of plants to extract and sequester environmental pollutants, is one new technology that offers an ecologically sound solution to a devastating problem. We propose that it is less disruptive to the environment to harvest and dispose of several thousand ... continued below

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Meagher, Richard B. June 1, 2005.

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A Phytoremediation Strategy for Arsenic Progress Report May, 2005 Richard B. Meagher Principal Investigator Arsenic pollution affects the health of several hundred millions of people world wide, and an estimated 10 million Americans have unsafe levels of arsenic in their drinking water. However, few environmentally sound remedies for cleaning up arsenic contaminated soil and water have been proposed. Phytoremediation, the use of plants to extract and sequester environmental pollutants, is one new technology that offers an ecologically sound solution to a devastating problem. We propose that it is less disruptive to the environment to harvest and dispose of several thousand pounds per acre of contaminated aboveground plant material, than to excavate and dispose of 1 to 5 million pounds of contaminated soil per acre (assumes contamination runs 3 ft deep). Our objective is to develop a genetics-based phytoremediation strategy for arsenic removal that can be used in any plant species. This strategy requires the enhanced expression of several transgenes from diverse sources. Our working hypothesis is that organ-specific expression of several genes controlling the transport, electrochemical state, and binding of arsenic will result in the efficient extraction and hyperaccumulation of arsenic into aboveground plant tissues. This hypothesis is supported by theoretical arguments and strong preliminary data. We proposed six Specific Aims focused on testing and developing this arsenic phytoremediation strategy. During the first 18 months of the grant we made significant progress on five Specific Aims and began work on the sixth as summarized below. Specific Aim 1: Enhance plant arsenic resistance and greatly expand sinks for arsenite by expressing elevated levels of thiol-rich, arsenic-binding peptides. Hyperaccumulation of arsenic depends upon making plants that are both highly tolerant to arsenic and that have the capacity to store large amounts of arsenic aboveground. Phytochelatins bind diverse thiol-reactive elements like As(III) and are synthesized from amino acids in a three-step enzymatic pathway utilizing three enzymes: ECS = gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase; GS = GSH synthetase; and PS = phytochelatin synthase. We cloned each of the genes that encode these enzymes and used at least two different plant promoters to express them in transgenic Arabidopsis. We have shown that all three confer significant resistance to arsenic and allow rapid growth on a concentration of arsenic (300 micromolar) that kills wild-type seeds and plants.

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  • Report No.: NABIR-1021925-2005
  • Grant Number: None
  • DOI: 10.2172/893582 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 893582
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc875428

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  • June 1, 2005

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 4, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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Meagher, Richard B. A Phytoremediation Strategy for Arsenic, report, June 1, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc875428/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.