Phytoextraction of Cadmium from Plant Trichomes Expressing a Stabilized Antibody

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43ES021682-01
Agency Tracking Number: R43ES021682
Amount: $138,913.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: NIEHS
Solicitation Number: PA11-096
Small Business Information
505 S ROSA RD, STE 102, MADISON, WI, 53719-1262
DUNS: 178045907
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (608) 441-2782
Business Contact
Phone: (608) 441-2782
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will investigate the feasibility of utilizing a stabilized, cadmium-binding antibody to sequester cadmium in plant trichomes. Heavy metals such as cadmium are ubiquitous contaminants in soil surrounding industrial sites and have great deleterious impacts on human health. A great need exists for a strategy of heavy metal removal and recovery from soil that does not rely on expensive and toxic restoration techniques.The opportunity that PhylloTech will pursue is the modification of a natural process of heavy metal phytoextraction in the genetically-tractable, high-biomass plant Nicotiana tabacum. Our specific technological innovation is the targeted expression of a thermostabile cadmium-binding antibody within the gland cells of leaf surface structures called glandular secreting trichomes, to achieve high levels of cadmium sequestration outside of the main plant body so that plant growth is undeterred. The research objectives will be to generate a stabilized antibody that binds cadmium, drive its expression in trichomes using patented promoters, and investigate if plants are enhanced in their abilities to extract cadmium from growth media. This work will demonstrate that trichomes of N. tabacum could be utilized to enhance cadmium extraction from soil, and will develop a foundation for the large-scale, selective phytoremediation of contaminants from diverse environments. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Cadmium is an industrial contaminant that has great deleterious impacts on human health, and we propose to generate plants that have an enhanced ability to remove cadmium from contaminated soils. This project is therefore relevant to the Hazardous Substances and Remediation Program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), specifically by our development of phytoremediation technologies through the use of genetic engineering approaches.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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