A Method for Decomposing Toxic Organic Pollutants


Reference #:  00167

Invention Description:

The subject invention is the use of an enzyme produced by Spartina alterniflora to degrade halogenated organics.

Potential Applications:

·      Remediation of soils contaminated with halogenated organics such as TCE

·      Removal of toxic organic pollutants from municipal, industrial, agricultural or military sources in water and soil that need to be decomposed, removed and/or stabilized.

Advantages and Benefits:

·       Low cost

·       Low maintenance

·       Sustainable



Haloaromatic and haloaliphatic contamination is a major environmental concern. Pollution often comes from municipal, industrial, agricultural or military sources, and it can enter the food-chain where it may bioaccumulate and pose significant health risks. Even if the sources of pollution are eliminated, the legacy of decades of accumulation of these environmental contaminants will persist. The reduction of these contaminants in soils by mechanical or chemical technologies to levels approved by the US Environmental protection agency is prohibitively costly and very time consuming. The phytoremediation approach, on the other hand, using natural clones of plants is promising and has attracted interest due to its potentially lower cost, low maintenance and sustainability. Plants can also enrich the soil and co-act with microbes in the rhizosphere in the process of remediating the contaminated soil. Plants are suitable for sites where the plume of contamination in the soil is directly accessible for the roots or where the pollutant can be gradually drained and the “plump and treat” procedure applied using constructed plant beds. The use of plants for removing or stabilizing contaminants in soil and water is an emerging technology that has had many successes.

Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Method for Decomposing Toxic Organic Pollutants Utility United States 09/318,593 6,087,547 5/25/1999 7/11/2000 5/25/2019  
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Yung-Pin Chen
Laszlo Marton
Mihaly Czako
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