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Biodegradation of Organophosphorus Pesticides


How hydrolyze process of Organophosphate (Op)by Organophosphorus Hydrolase enzyme(OPH) helps to improve our environment?

Biodegradation of Organophosphorus Pesticides

Agrochemicals are widely used in agricultural land for the improvement of the quality and quantity of the crops. In modern agriculture practices, the use of pesticides is indispensable. The consumption of pesticides increases day by day. The enormous and continued use of pesticides has added up the environmental pollution to such an extent that adversely shows the bad impact on human health and our ecosystem. It shows hazardous to our soil living biota, birds, fish, animals, and plants.

There are several varieties of pesticides that are used in agricultural land. The variety of pesticides depends upon the chemicals that are used during the manufacturing of pesticides.

Out of the various pesticides, OPs pesticides .i.e. Organophosphorus pesticides are very harmful to our environment.

OPs can persist in our environment for a long time. OPs compounds show sorption process in the soil so, OPs can be detected in the soil for many years. The dangerous impact of OPs is shown when it transferred into human food via the food chain.

According to the WHO ( World Health Organisation), there are about 1 million people a year admitted to hospital with accidental poisoning and 2 million with suicidal intent. It is estimated that there could be as many as 25 million agriculture workers in the developing world suffering an episode of poisoning each year.

The serious negative impact of OPs pesticides on the Environment 

  1. Lead to the destruction of biodiversity
  2. Under the threat of harmful pesticides many birds, animals, and aquatic organisms may hard to survive in toxic environmental conditions.
  3. Pesticides show a negative impact on global stability and environmental sustainability. 


OPs(Organophosphorus Pesticides)

OPs are one of the organophosphorus compounds that are used as a pesticide. Organophosphorus pesticides' general name is esters of phosphoric acid. The basic building blocks of OPs compounds are aliphatic, phenyl, and heterocyclic derivatives. Organophosphates are biodegradable in nature, and their residues are found in the environment that causes a very harmful impact on our nature. 

OPs compounds are widely used accounting for more than 36% of the total world market. OPs pesticides are widely used in agricultural land to control a variety of pests, spider mites, aphids, and boring insects that are very harmful to crops like cotton, sugar cane, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, and ornament. 

The mechanism of action of OP pesticides is to inhibit acetylcholinesterase action. During inhibition of acetylcholinesterase results in the accumulation of nerve synapses and neuromuscular junction that further stimulate muscarinic, nicotinic receptors, and the central nervous system. 

Organophosphate poisoning depends upon whether the toxic effect is mild, moderate, or severe. Organophosphate generally shows neurotoxic effects and degrades nerve agents. It is highly neurotoxin by chemical nature. 

When the human body contact with these types of OPs pesticides it causes various types of symptoms like -

  1. General weakness
  2. Abdominal cramps
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Nausea
  5. Tremors
  6. Excessive sweating
  7. Respiratory failure
  8. Loss of memory
  9. Depression
  10. Anxiety
  11. Disorientation
  12. Headache
  13. Even death

OPs compounds are mutagenic and teratogenic. So, as a result, OPs compounds can show immune and nervous related diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Gulf War syndrome, and multiple sclerosis type disease.


OPH(Organophosphorus Hydrolase)

OPH(Organophosphorus hydrolase) is an enzyme that has the ability to hydrolyze organophosphates(Op).OPH is a naturally occurring bacterial enzyme.OPH knew as another name .i.e. Phosphotriesterase (PTE).

OPH is highly host-specific in nature during the production of this enzyme it depends upon highly growth conditions. OPH biodegradation activity process for OPs compounds is shown on the cell surface. 

The enzymatic action and biodegradation process OPH enzyme on Op pesticides are basically shown on the cell surface. For the OPH signal sequence, there is necessary the enzymatic activity shown on the surface near about 80% of the enzymatic activity was located on the cell surface.


Using OPs compounds for the long-term gives the footprints of bad impact not even on living creatures but our environment too. These compounds are highly toxic in nature. The exposure of these OPs pesticides to human beings shows unwanted side effects.

So, control on the usage of these compounds is necessary for the wellness of our environment, and our living creatures. An enzymatic control is the fastest process to control the OPs compounds. 

The enzyme OPH is widely used to control OPs compounds' harmful activity in our environment. OPH shows a biodegradation process to control OPs compounds so, OPH biodegradable activity does not cause any harmful activity to our nature.

“Keep control of pesticide usage, and Keep practices to grow Organic food”

Thank You for Reading!


Catherine Mee-Hie Cho et al.,( 2002), “ Bacterial Cell surface Display of Organophosphorus Hydrolase for selective Screening of Improved Hydrolysis of Organophosphate NerveAgents”. Appl Environ Microbiol, American Society for Microbiology.68(4):2026–2030.

Isra Mahmood .etal. (2016), “Effects of Pesticides on Environment”.Plant, Soil, and Microbes pp 253–269.

K. Vala Ragnarsdottir(2000), “Environmental fate and toxicology of Organophosphate pesticides”. Journal of Geological Society 157, 859–876

Pradnya P Knaekar et al ., (2004), “ Biodegradation of organophosphorus Pesticides”. Proc. Indian natn Sci Acad, B70 No.1 pp57–70.

Richins R al., (1997), “Biodegradation of Organophosphorus pesticides by Surface-expressed Organophosphorus hydrolase; Nat.Biotech. 15 984–987.

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