• Powers, Linda S (PI)
  • Grover, Thomas (PI)
  • Stevens, David (PI)
  • Li, Joseph (PI)
  • Yamazuki, Isao (PI)
  • Anderson, Anne (PI)
  • Bumpus, John (PI)
  • Sims, Ronald (PI)
  • Tien, Ming (PI)
  • Aust, Steven (PI)

Project: Research project

Grant Details


The overall objective of the proposal program is to seek ways to decrease
the risks associated with environmental pollutants by biological
treatment of such wastes. The lignin degrading system of white rot fungi
will be used. An integrated program is proposed, starting with molecular
biology and genetics and proceeding from enzymology through engineering
and application research. The genes for the ligninases will be
incorporated into expression systems for large-scale production of
enzymes. Eukaryotic expression systems will be studied for future
incorporation of the ligninase genes back into the original fungus to
increase the capacity of the organism. Both recombinant and native
enzymes will be characterized in terms of physical properties, turnover
rates, substrate specificity, and stability. The mechanisms and pathways
for degradation will be characterized to determine if potential harmful
intermediates might be produced by the enzymes and the fungus. Conditions
will be sought to maximize rates and extents of degradation to minimize
the production of potentially harmful products. Finally we will study the
engineering of the process and its cost. The program will be a part of
and partially support two graduate programs at Utah State University, the
Graduate Programs in Toxicology and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
The research program will involve faculty in the Departments of Chemistry
and Biochemistry, Biology, Nutrition and Food Sciences, and Civil and
Environmental Engineering at Utah State University and the Department of
Molecular and Cell Biology at Pennsylvania State University. The research
will also involve the Biotechnology Center and the Utah Water Research
Laboratory. The significance of this project is that we have discovered a
natural process for biological oxidation of environmental pollutants. We
propose to adapt the system to the problem and to study how to increase
its effectiveness. It should be possible to design very economical
systems based on nutrients such as sawdust, corn cobs, peanut shells,
wheat straw, etc. depending upon the availability of these substances.
Any one of these would provide an economical yet very effective system
because the white rot fungi would be very competitive with such
Effective start/end date12/7/883/31/96


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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