APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Pesticide resistance
- Protects against toxic environmental chemicals
- Expands the metabolic potential of an individual’s microbiome for detoxification
Berkeley Lab researchers led by Susan Celniker, Ben Brown, and Ken Wan have developed a technology to address pesticide sensitivity in Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies by feeding the flies a fruit fly gut bacteria containing genes for pesticide metabolism. The Berkeley Lab approach presents a pathway to develop protective strategies and ultimately treat a wide range of organisms against toxic chemicals, including pesticides and herbicides known to cause cancer, immunological disease, neurological disorders, and much more.
Specifically, the researchers identified a bacteria from sequencing fruit fly gut microbiomes that contains a complete set of folate synthetic enzymes as well as plasmid and viral gene sequences that can enhance the metabolic potential of the gut microbiome upon colonization. In addition to these genomic findings, the researchers also determined a Drosophila gut bacteria that possess a full set of enzymes for the metabolism of broadleaf herbicide (atrazine) on a single plasmid.
Based on this outcome, the research team believes environmental exposure to pesticides impacts the composition and activity of the gut microbiome depending on the timing of exposure, genetic background of the host, compound dosage, and compound type. The environment has been exposed to over 100,000 industrial chemicals, of which fewer than 7% have been characterized in any toxicological assay or system.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Researchers were able to fully rescue pesticide sensitive flies and restore wildtype survival curves.
STATUS: Published U. S. Patent Application 16/183,529 (Publication US2019-0177807). Available for licensing or collaborative research.
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD: