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Genetic and Biochemical Basis for the Transformation of Energetic Materials (RDX, TNT, DNTs) by Plants

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Final rept.

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The energetic materials RDX, TNT, DNTs are possible sources of groundwater and surface soil 1 ft contamination at DoD training and testing sites. RDX, in particular, is more mobile than the other compounds in groundwater. Phytoremediation is an inexpensive, self-sustaining treatment technology that may be suitable for prevention of contamination. Phytoremediation of energetic materials RDX, TNT, DNTs requires basic knowledge of the transformation pathways of the energetic materials for several purposes. Selection of high-performing native plants, engineering plants with enhanced transformation capabilities, identifying the fate of transformation products in the plants, and designing the external variables to operate a more effective phytoremediation process are all dependent on a knowledge base of the genetic structure, enzymatic structure, and biochemical reaction pathways. This project used Arabidopsis thaliana as a model plant system to perform genetic and biochemical studies to assist in the identification of the genes, enzymes and pathway structure of metabolism of energetic materials. The strategy involved selection of mutants resistant to the energetic compound, and then genetic and metabolic characterization of the mutants. However, as a prerequisite to this strategy, two types of Arabidopsis thaliana mutant libraries, T-DNA insertion and Enhancer 4X-trap, were generated and screening assays for resistance to TNT and RDX needed to be designed and implemented. Furthermore, uptake and metabolic fate studies of Arabidopsis thaliana exposed to RDX, TNT, and DNTs were necessary as controls to compare with the mutants. Thus, these prerequisite studies alone contributed to the tool and knowledge base on transformation of energetic materials in this genetically powerful plant system. Knowledge of phytotoxicity effects of plants to TNT and RDX from prior literature was used as an aid to design.

Subject Categories:

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology
  • Biology
  • Ammunition and Explosives

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