Heavy Metals and Phytoremediation
Pischke, Melissa S. , Kelly, Shelly D. , Ravel, Bruce , Meagher, Richard, B. .
Optimizing plant arsenic sequestration for environmental clean-up.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring metalloid in the earth’s crust. Both natural and anthropogenic activities have contributed to arsenic mobilization and concentration in the environment, such that the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for arsenic levels are exceeded at many locations worldwide. This translates into an increased risk of arsenic-related illnesses for millions of people. While several strategies for arsenic treatment of contaminated soil and water have been described, most are expensive, labor-intensive and environmentally destructive. Phytoremediation, using plants to extract and sequester contaminants from soil and water, may offer a relatively inexpensive, non-invasive strategy for arsenic treatment. To effect arsenic remediation, plants must display both increased arsenic resistance and above-ground accumulation. Arsenic is readily taken up by plants as a phosphate analog. Once intracellular, arsenic species are toxic to plants just as they are to humans. However, sequestration of arsenic inside vacuoles should allow plants to accumulate high levels of arsenic without the accompanying cytotoxicity. Overexpression of a yeast metal-sequestering vacuolar pump (YCF1) conferred modest increases in lead and cadmium resistance and accumulation on plants (Song et al. (2003) Nature Biotech 21, 914-919). Similarly, we transformed Arabidopsis plants with a YCF1 overexpression construct, and identified transgenic plants with modest increases in arsenic resistance and accumulation. These data, as well as our progress toward modifying the YCF1 gene to significantly increase YCF1 arsenic-pump activity in plants, will be presented.
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1 - University of Georgia, Genetics Department, Davison Life Sciences Building, Athens, GA, 30602-7223, USA
2 - Argonne National Laboratory, Biosciences Division, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, IL, 60439, USA
Presentation Type: Plant Biology Abstract
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM