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Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Oct 3;51(19):11258-11268. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b02346. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

Degrading and Phytoextracting Atrazine Residues in Rice (Oryza sativa) and Growth Media Intensified by a Phase II Mechanism Modulator.

Zhang JJ1,2, Gao S3,4, Xu JY1, Lu YC1,5, Lu FF1, Ma LY1, Su XN1,2, Yang H1,2.

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Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Pesticide Science, College of Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University , Nanjing 210095, China.
State & Local Joint Engineering Research Center of Green Pesticide Invention and Application, Nanjing Agricultural University , Nanjing 210095, China.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Life Science, Nanjing Agricultural University , Nanjing 210095, China.
College of Life Sciences, Fudan University , Shanghai, 200433 China.
College of Food Science and Light Industry, Nanjing Tech University , Nanjing 211800, China.


Atrazine (ATZ) residue in farmland is one of the environmental contaminants seriously affecting crop production and food safety. Understanding the regulatory mechanism for ATZ metabolism and degradation in plants is important to help reduce ATZ potential toxicity to both plants and human health. Here, we report our newly developed engineered rice overexpressing a novel Phase II metabolic enzyme glycosyltransfearse1 (ARGT1) responsible for transformation of ATZ residues in rice. Our results showed that transformed lines, when exposed to environmentally realistic ATZ concentration (0.2-0.8 mg/L), displayed significantly high tolerance, with 8-27% biomass and 36-56% chlorophyll content higher, but 37-69% plasma membrane injury lower than untransformed lines. Such results were well confirmed by ARGT1 expression in Arabidopsis. ARGT1-transformed rice took up 1.6-2.7 fold ATZ from its growth medium compared to its wild type (WT) and accumulated ATZ 10%-43% less than that of WT. A long-term study also showed that ATZ in the grains of ARGT1-transformed rice was reduced by 30-40% compared to WT. The ATZ-degraded products were characterized by UPLC/Q-TOF-MS/MS. More ATZ metabolites and conjugates accumulated in ARGT1-transformed rice than in WT. Eight ATZ metabolites for Phase I reaction and 10 conjugates for Phase II reaction in rice were identified, with three ATZ-glycosylated conjugates that have never been reported before. These results indicate that ARGT1 expression can facilitate uptake of ATZ from environment and metabolism in rice plants.

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