Biodegradation and detoxification of organophosphate insecticide, malathion by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pisi cutinase

Yang Hoon Kim, Ji Young Ahn, Seung Hyeon Moon, Jeewon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Efficiencies of two lypolytic enzymes (fungal cutinase and yeast esterase) in malathion degradation were investigated. Surprisingly, degradation rate of malathion by fungal cutinase was very high, i.e. almost 60% of initial malathion (500 mg l-1) was decomposed within 0.5 h, and nearly 50% of the degraded malathion disappeared within initial 15 min. With the yeast esterase, despite the same concentration, more than 65% of malathion remained even after 2-day treatment. During enzymatic degradation of malathion, two malathion-derived compounds were detected, and time-course changes in composition were also monitored. In the degradation by both fungal cutinase and yeast esterase, two additional organic chemicals were produced from malathion: malathion monoacid (MMA) and malathion diacid (MDA) by ester hydrolysis. Final chemical composition after 2 d was significantly dependent on the enzyme used. Fungal cutinase produced MDA as a major degradation compound. However in the malathion degradation by yeast esterase, an isomer of MMA was produced in abundance in addition to MDA. Toxic effects of malathion and its final degradation products were investigated using various recombinant bioluminescent bacteria. As a result, the degradation products (including MMA) by esterase severely caused membrane damage and inhibition of protein synthesis in bacterial cells, while in the fungal cutinase processes, malathion was significantly degraded to non-toxic MDA after the extended period (2 days).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1355
Number of pages7
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Sep


  • Cutinase
  • Degradation of malathion
  • Esterase
  • Recombinant bioluminescent bacteria
  • Toxicity monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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