Bioremediation and Deinococcus radiodurans

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While some bacteria can be used to biodegrade at waste sites, the microbes are killed by the radiation before they are able to finish their task of degrading the toxins. That is where Deinococcus radidurans comes into play. Because D. radiodurans does not actually degrade the toxins, it will be used in conjuction with microbes that can degrade.
Bioremediation with D. radiodurans can be much cheaper and save a great amount of time.

Bioremediation by Use of Genetic Engineering

There have been several studies where genes of pollutant degrading bacteria, such as Pseudomonas have been added to this highly radiation resistant bacteria. While D.radiodurans does not reduce radiation, it is simply resistant to the radiation by repairing its DNA quickly.
Scientists transferred a set of genes from pseudomonas into D. radiodurans that encode an enzyme that partially breaks down toluene and other toxic chemicals. This was accomplished by fusing a gene encoding toluene dioxygenase, which is an enzyme that degrades toluene, to a Deinococcus radiodurans promoter (a site that activates the gene. Then the DNA was inserted into one of the bacterium's chromosomes, which utimately resulted in a recombinant bacterium. The end result gives you a bacterium that is capable of degrading toluene and other organic compounds in a high-radiation environment. This genetically engineered bacterium can withstand toluene and trichloroethylene at levels that exceeds the levels found at many radioactive waste sites. Even after the D. radiodurans has been exposed to radiation, it is still able produce this valuable enzyme. This is important because the "bug" is able to do its job in a highly radioactive site.
Also, scientists have successfully added genes to D. radiodurans that allow the microbe to transform ionic mercury into a less toxic state. This is important because mercury is a very common environmental contaminant. Scientists, Daly and Brim haved proved that added mercury-altering genes or any other new set of genes to D. radiodurans will not alter its ability to withstand radiation. The microbe will still be able to live in highly radioactive sites and be able to degrade many toxins.
Next, scientists plan to transfer a set of genes from pseudomonas into D. radiodurans that will finish the breakdown of toxic waste. The genes will contain proteins that will finish the break down of the toxins.
Eventually, with enough research, hopefully D. radiodurans will be used to degrade many organic chemicals and to immobilize radioactive metals. It may take another six years before it is used out in the field. However, even though Deinococcus radiodurans has not been known to cause death or disease in humans, many humans are very skeptical of releasing microbes into the soil.