Costa Rican Scientists Test Enzyme Degrading Pollutants in Rivers

    This Will Be One of the First Contributions for Effective Protection of Water Sources

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    Abelardo Canelo
    I am not only a fluent Spanish-English reader/speaker but also a bi-cultural person who has a broad solid background. I also have a passionate interest in different expressions of music, especially many American styles and their combinations (Folk-Country, Jazz, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Soul, and so on), dance, stage and screen, and some other forms of artistic expression.

    A team of scientists from the Center for Research in Environmental Pollution (CICA) of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) will begin experiments with an enzyme capable of degrading certain pollutants that reach the rivers. The researchers Marta Pérez Villanueva, Didier Ramírez Morales and Carlos Rodríguez Rodríguez (director of the CICA) will face the enzyme Pycnoporus sanguineous strain CS43 to different pollutants, especially medicines, to prove their effectiveness.

    This will be one of the first contributions of Costa Ricans to the Ibero-American network of Immobilized Lacasse for the Degradation of Aromatic Compounds (LIDA), where they play a key international role in the search for alternatives to treat emerging pollutants in wastewater.

    Emerging contaminants are substances for domestic use such as drugs, antibiotics, personal care products or caffeine that are discarded, through wastewater and could cause chronic toxic effects on ecosystems and human health.

    Degradation of compounds

    The enzyme Pycnoporus sanguineous strain CS43 was discovered by a research group of the Technological Institute of Monterrey at Cerro de la Silla in Monterrey. Among its advantages is that it resists high temperatures and survives for more than 1,000 days.

    Biochemical analysis of water from rivers

    This type of enzymes (called laccase), which are in fungi of white rot, are of great interest to scientists because they act by breaking the structures of complex molecules and can thus degrade different types of organic pollutants such as pesticides and emerging contaminants.

    To advance in the study of these enzymes at the Ibero-American level, the CICA will contribute its analysis capacity and experience in the study of organic pollutants.

    The contribution of the Costa Rican team to the LIDA network will be made possible through the project registered with the Vice-Rector of Research of the University of Costa Rica 802-B8-513: Strengthening the use of immobilized casings for the degradation of aromatic compounds in wastewater in Costa Rica.

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