Aims: To develop a simple, rapid and sensitive fluorimetric assay to detect, isolate and characterize a soil bacterium capable of degrading the organophosphorus pesticide, coumaphos. Methods and Results: A high throughput microtitre plate-based method was used to quantify coumaphos hydrolysis by the bacterium. The fluorescent hydrolysis product of coumaphos, chlorferon, was detected at levels as low as 10 nmol l-1. Incorporation of coumaphos into agar plates allowed the rapid detection of coumaphos-hydrolysing bacteria when exposed to an excitation wavelength of approximately 340 nm. The coumaphos-hydrolysing enzyme could be visualized when bacterial cell extracts were separated on SDS-PAGE, incubated with coumaphos and exposed to an excitation source as above. Conclusions: This method is 100-fold more sensitive than the currently used spectrophotometric method for coumaphos. Significance and Impact of the Study: This is a unique and versatile tool to screen for bacteria possessing phosphotriesterase activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Water Science and Technology
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes