Wednesday, July 13, 2011

N,N - Dimethylformamide eating Paracoccus denitrifians: Hyderabad Central University team discovers bacteria that eats DMF, a major pollutant from pharma, textile and chemical industires

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 11: In a major breakthrough that could solve the problem of pollution caused by pharma and textile units, researchers at the city-based University of Hyderabad have identified a new bacterium capable of eating away the hazardous chemical, dimethylformamide.
Dimethylformamide or DMF is used widely as an organic solvent in chemical, pharmaceutical and textile industries. The chemical is hazardous and easily gets into the environment, where it stays forever damaging the delicate ecology of the area. Scientists the world over have been trying to find out a natural solution to the DMF disposal.
The chemical is capable of causing cancer and birth defects, besides damaging organs like kidneys, liver, heart, skin, eyes and lungs. It can be highly dangerous if the chemical enters the body through skin
or ingestion.
A team of researchers led by Dr Dayananda Siddavattam, head of the department of animal sciences, University of Hyderabad, has used the novel bacterium, Paracoccus denitrificans, to clean up DMF
from the soil.
The team has also sequenced the genome of the bacterium which will help scientists understand the mechanism that goes behind the "eating away" of this hazardous pollutant. This bacterium lives in 
coal mines and feeds on carbon and nitrogen. The UoH team has successfuly fed DMF to the bacterium as a source of carbon and nitrogen.
Pharma, textile and chemical industries use DMF in large quantities for recovery of organic compounds and then release it through industrial effluents causing adverse effects to environment and human health.
"DMF is the most stable organic pollutant. Once released into the environment it remains unaltered withstanding a variety of physical and chemical conditions. Our group has isolated the novel bacterial
strain, Paracoccus denitrificans, capable of using this toxic solvent as sole source of carbon and nitrogen," Dr Dayananda said.
The UoH team has shown under laboratory conditions the application of this bacterial isolate for removal of DMF from industrial effluents. "We have deciphered the total genome sequence of this novel isolate in collaboration with the research team headed by Dr Niyaz Ahmed of the Department of Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad," Dr Dayananda added.
The sequence of the bacterial genome revealed existence of complete genetic machinery required for mineralisation of DMF and regulatory genes that control expression of these degradative traits.
"The genome sequence, accepted for publication in Journal of Bacteriology, a reputed journal from American Society for Microbiology, USA form basis for understanding complete physiology and biochemistry of DMF degradation in this bacterial strain," he pointed out.
The genome sequence would aid to manipulate the strain to improve degradative efficiency of the strain to develop biosensor strains for detection of toxic DMF residues in industrial effluents and other
components of environment.

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