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Bioremediation Team

The bioremediation team develops technologies to remove agricultural contaminants such as waste plastics and residual pesticides using microorganisms.

1. Development of microbial methods to combat agricultural waste plastics

In Korea a considerable amount of plastics is used in agricultural sector for soil mulching, greenhouse, silage and so on and thus proper disposal method of the waste plastics is needed. In order to resolve this issue, we are investigating:

  • Screening of microorganisms and their enzymes degrading petroleum-based plastics such as polyethylene (PE) and biodegradable plastics such as polylactic acid (PLA).
  • Screening of microorganisms degrading plastic additives such as plasticizers and UV stabilizers
  • Identification of mechanisms with which plastics are biodegraded
  • Pretreatment of plastics for effective biodegradation
  • Microbial production of biodegradable plastics
  • Industrialization of plastic-degrading and plastic–producing microorganisms

2. Microbial degradation of residual pesticides in agricultural fields

Chemical pesticides have made a big contribution to modern agriculture but they may threaten human health and environment if they are abused and remain in crops or soils over the allowable amount of residue. We are trying to resolve this issue using microorganisms:

  • Screening and characterization of microorganisms to degrade residual pesticides
  • Identification of mechanisms with which residual pesticides are biodegraded
  • Estimation of field application of pesticide-degrading microorganisms
  • Industrialization of pesticide-degrading microorganisms