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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 20 No. 3, p. 510-517
    Received: June 22, 1990

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Use of Enzymes to Detoxify Pesticide-Contaminated Soils and Waters

  1. P. Nannipieri and
  2. J.-M. Bollag *
  1. Dipartimento di Agrobiologia e Agrochimica, Universita degli studi della Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy;
    Lab. Soil Biochemistry, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802.



Applying enzymes to transform or degrade pesticides is an innovative treatment technique for removal of these chemicals from polluted environments. Enzyme-catalyzed degradation of a pollutant by a parathion hydrolase may be more effective than existing chemical methods. Removal of certain pollutants (for instance phenols and aromatic amines) from wastewater may be achieved by applying phenoloxidases that can convert these chemicals to water-insoluble polymers that can then be removed by filtration or sedimentation. Another decontamination method involves the enzyme-catalyzed incorporation of pesticides into organic matter. This procedure reduces the mount of leachable pesticides as well as the toxicity and bioavailability of the chemicals. Pesticide-detoxifying enzymes must be immobilized before they can be used in the environment. In spite of promising potential applications, very few enzymes have been tested as possible tools in the detoxification of pesticides. Research in this domain can contribute greatly to developing new methods for pollution control.

Contribution from the Lab. of Soil Biochemistry, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park.

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