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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2013 Jun;24(3):451-6. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2012.08.011. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Bioavailability of pollutants and chemotaxis.

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Department of Environmental Protection, CSIC, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Profesor Albareda 1, 18008 Granada, Spain.


The exposure of bacteria to pollutants induces frequently chemoattraction or chemorepellent reactions. Recent research suggests that the capacity to degrade a toxic compound has co-evolved in some bacteria with the capacity to chemotactically react to it. There is an increasing amount of data which show that chemoattraction to biodegradable pollutants increases their bioavailability which translates into an enhancement of the biodegradation rate. Pollutant chemoreceptors so far identified are encoded on degradation or resistance plasmids. Genetic engineering of bacteria, such as the transfer of chemoreceptor genes, offers thus the possibility to optimize biodegradation processes.

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