Author(s): Rylott EL, Jackson RG, Edwards J, Womack GL, SethSmith HM,
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Abstract The widespread presence in the environment of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), one of the most widely used military explosives, has raised concern owing to its toxicity and recalcitrance to degradation. To investigate the potential of plants to remove RDX from contaminated soil and water, we engineered Arabidopsis thaliana to express a bacterial gene xplA encoding an RDX-degrading cytochrome P450 (ref. 1). We demonstrate that the P450 domain of XplA is fused to a flavodoxin redox partner and catalyzes the degradation of RDX in the absence of oxygen. Transgenic A. thaliana expressing xplA removed and detoxified RDX from liquid media. As a model system for RDX phytoremediation, A. thaliana expressing xplA was grown in RDX-contaminated soil and found to be resistant to RDX phytotoxicity, producing shoot and root biomasses greater than those of wild-type plants. Our work suggests that expression of xplA in landscape plants may provide a suitable remediation strategy for sites contaminated by this class of explosives.
This article was published in Nat Biotechnol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology