Agrochemistry, Environmental, and Geochemistry

Enzymes Essential to Biosphere Health: Bioremediation and Biogeochemical Cycling (#219)

Microbial enzyme activities are essential to the health of the biosphere, cycling both natural products and anthropogenic chemicals. The enzymes are both ancient and newly evolved, but universally display powerful catalysis for removing pollutants and generating life-sustaining intermediates in global cycles. Many of the key catabolic enzymes that have been explored for their scientific interest and industrial value are oxygenases. These include enzymes that transform recalcitrant, hazardous persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, and DDT. However, increasing inroads are being made into understanding the enzymes that underpin anaerobic processes. Finally, there is burgeoning success in characterizing and engineering enzymes involved in degrading the recalcitrant components of biomass and generating cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy. This symposium will explore the fascinating chemistry of some of the enzymes involved in these various processes from structural, mechanistic and evolutionary perspectives.
Last update: Dec 28, 2015