Bioremediation of DDT

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Over 39 years have passed since the nationwide ban of a well-known pesticide, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) (1), yet it still has an important role in public health as well as the environment. DDT is a persistent toxin, having a long half-life of 2 to 15 years terrestrially and 150 years aquatically (as cited in 5). It was originally used in World War II to control malaria and yellow fever then became a main staple in pesticide control for crops. Because DDT was a highly effective pesticide for malaria it is still used in areas where the disease is prevalent. There is a mass of controversy surrounding the chemical and its continued use as governments try to find a balance between public welfare and the state of the environment.

The continued use of this pesticide requires research into the influence of DDT and other persistent chemicals on the environment and the human population. The pesticide enters the environment by run-off from soil, volatilization and its byproducts (DDD and DDE) enter the environment by chemical breakdown of DDT by sunlight (9). DDT sticks strongly to soil and does not dissolve easily into water, it begins to enter the environment by compiling within the adipose tissue of organisms making it an extremely persistent toxin.(explain a little more, which organisms start the biomag) This accumulation of DDT lead to bio-magnification in food webs, when DDT began to be used commercially, which affected predatory birds like ospreys, pelicans and eagles at the highest level of magnification (7). The contagion of DDT caused a reduction in the hardness of the bird’s eggs, because of a lack of calcium within the shell, and therefore widespread devastation in the population as the eggs all broke before ha...

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...eneral Fact Sheet)." Http://npic.orst.edu/. National Pesticide Information Center, 1999. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. .

(6) http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/ehc/ehc241.pdf

(7) Reece, Jane B., Lisa A. Urry, Michael L. Cain, and Steven A. Wasserman. Campbell Biology. 9th ed. [S.l.]: Pearson Education, (2011). 974, 1254 Print.

(8) Short P, Colborn T. 1999. Pesticide use in the U.S. and policy

implications: A focus on herbicides. Toxicol Ind Health 15:

240–275.

9. WANG, Guangli et al. Co-metabolism of DDT by the newly isolated bacterium, Pseudoxanthomonas sp. wax. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2010, vol.41, n.2 [cited 2011-10-13], pp. 431-438 . Available from: . ISSN 1517-8382. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822010000200025.
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