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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2009 Apr;20(2):231-6. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2009.01.011. Epub 2009 Mar 9.

Transgenic plants for enhanced phytoremediation of toxic explosives.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA.


Phytoremediation of organic pollutants, such as explosives, is often a slow and incomplete process, potentially leading to the accumulation of toxic metabolites that can be further introduced into the food chain. During the past decade, plants have been genetically modified to overcome the inherent limitations of plant detoxification capabilities, following a strategy similar to the development of transgenic crop. Bacterial genes encoding enzymes involved in the breakdown of explosives, such as nitroreductase and cytochrome P450, have been introduced in higher plants, resulting in significant enhancement of plant tolerance, uptake, and detoxification performances. Transgenic plants exhibiting biodegradation capabilities of microorganisms bring the promise of an efficient and environmental-friendly technology for cleaning up polluted soils.

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