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    Expression of the bacterial nitroreductase gene, nfsI, in tobacco plastids conferred the ability to detoxify TNT. The toxic pollutant 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) is recalcitrant to degradation in the environment. Phytoremediation is a potentially low cost remediation technique that could be applied to soil contaminated with TNT; however, progress is hindered by the phytotoxicity of this compound. Previous studies have demonstrated that plants transformed with the bacterial nitroreductase gene, nfsI have increased ability to tolerate and detoxify TNT. It has been proposed that plants engineered to express nfsI could be used to remediate TNT on military ranges, but this could require steps to mitigate transgene flow to wild populations. To address this, we have developed nfsI transplastomic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) to reduce pollen-borne transgene flow. Here we have shown that when grown on solid or liquid media, the transplastomic tobacco expressing nfsI were significantly more tolerant to TNT, produced increased biomass and removed more TNT from the media than untransformed plants. Additionally, transplastomic plants expressing nfsI regenerated with high efficiency when grown on medium containing TNT, suggesting that nfsI and TNT could together be used to provide a selectable screen for plastid transformation.


    Long Zhang, Elizabeth L Rylott, Neil C Bruce, Stuart E Strand. Phytodetoxification of TNT by transplastomic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) expressing a bacterial nitroreductase. Plant molecular biology. 2017 Sep;95(1-2):99-109

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    PMID: 28762129

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