Biological Degradation of Chemical Agents
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 80010, Austin, TX, 78708
AbstractCurrent methods used for the destruction of CW agents are cumbersome, require extensive capital equipment such as incinerators and water reactors and pose potential environmental problems themselves. A novel approach for the destruction of CW agentsinvolves genetically engineering microorganisms to produce recombinant enzymes that can efficiently degrade CW agents. Such a system would allow these toxic compounds to be efficiently degraded to harmless products. There are a number of advantages to abiological based system for degrading CW agents. First, a properly designed biological system would be easy to use by non-science personnel, such as Special Operation units of the armed forces. Also, a biological-based system would be cost effectivebecause it would be self-generating, and due to their catalytic nature, each enzyme molecule can degrade many molecules of a CW agent. Agave BioSystems proposes to develop a biologically based system for the efficient and safe destruction of CW agents,particularly the non-volatile persistent substances such as VX. This effort involves the development of a genetically engineered microbial system based on the efficient CW degrading enzyme organophosphate hydrolase (OPH).
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