Biological Degradation of Chemical Agents

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: W31P4Q-05-C-R143
Agency Tracking Number: 03SB2-0470
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: SB032-047
Solicitation Number: 2003.2
Small Business Information
AGAVE BIOSYSTEMS, INC.
P.O. Box 80010, Austin, TX, 78708
DUNS: 022552900
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Mehran Pazirandeh
 Staff Scientist
 (607) 272-0002
 mehranp@agavebio.com
Business Contact
 Noe Salazar
Title: President
Phone: (512) 671-1369
Email: nsalazar@agavebio.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
Current 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 agents involves 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 a biological 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 effective because it would be self-generating, and each enzyme molecule can degrade many molecules of a CW agent due to their catalytic nature. In the Phase I, Agave BioSystems was highly successful in demonstrating proof of concept by genetically engineering B. megaterium to surface express OPH and show degradation activity. In the Phase II we will continue the development of a biologically based system for the efficient and safe destruction of CW agents, particularly the non-volatile persistent substances such as VX.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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