Searching for bioprospect capable of utilizing 2,4,6 trinitrotoluene

Friday, October 28, 2011
Hall 1-2 (San Jose Convention Center)
Jose Vargas-Muniz , Industrial Biotechnology, University of Puerto Rico at MayagŁez, MayagŁez, PR
Carlos Rios-Velazquez, PhD , Biology, University of Puerto Rico at MayagŁez, MayagŁez, PR

Fungi are large and diverse groups of saprophytic eukaryotic organisms with cell walls made of chitin and which produce cellular structures know as hyphae.  Fungi are very versatile physiologically, and some of them are pathogens to humans. From this diversity, humans could benefit and obtain novel biomolecules for biomedical or environmental applications. Three fungal bioprospects have been isolated and tested for the degradation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). Microbiological tests suggest that two of them belong to Aspergillus genus and one to Geotrichum. Potato dextrose broth (PDB) supplemented with TNT to a final concentration of 2 ppm of the compound was inoculated with one of the bioprospect except for the negative control. The fungi were incubated for a period of two weeks, taking samples every three days. The samples were analyzed using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with 70% water and 30% methanol solution as mobile phase. When running the TNT in PDB the chromatogram peak corresponding to TNT appeared at 7.2 minutes after injection. Three of the candidates were capable of degraded TNT differentially. While there was a reduction in the TNT peak, degradation products in the media with the bioprospects were not detected, suggesting incorporation of the compound as a carbon source. Ongoing experiments are being performed by testing the bioprospects growth in Bushnell -Haas minimal media using the explosive as the sole carbon source.