Biotech Updates

Sulfate Phytoremediation through Transgenic Water Spinach

May 11, 2007

The accumulation of sulfate in waste water generated from lignite mines is an important environmental concern. Plants naturally utilize sulfate through a mechanism known as sulfate assimilation. With the aim of increasing sulfate uptake in water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), a team of scientists from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, developed two transgenic lines of I. aquatica harboring a serine acetyltransferase (SAT1) gene from Arabidopsis, and a cysteine synthase (rcs1) gene from rice.

The authors report that sulphate absorption in the transgenic lines was 4.0 and 5.5 times higher than in the conventional controls. The result suggests that the final step of cysteine biosynthesis is the key step of sulfate assimilation. The Ipomoea aquatica transgenic lines have potential for sulfate phytoremediation in mine drainage waters.

More information available at: