Biotransformation of an organochlorine insecticide, endosulfan, by Anabaena species

J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Feb 26;51(5):1336-40. doi: 10.1021/jf0257289.


This study assesses the role of the blue-green algal species present in the soil in the dissipation of endosulfan and its metabolites in the soil environment. Two Anabaena species, Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 and Anabaena flos-aquae, were used in this study. Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 produced three principal biotransformation compounds, chiefly endosulfan diol (endodiol), and minor amounts of endosulfan hydroxyether and endosulfan lactone. Trace amounts of endosulfan sulfate were detected. In comparison, the biotransformation of endosulfan by Anabaena flos-aquae yielded mainly endodiol with minor amounts of endosulfan sulfate. An unknown compound was produced up to 70% from endosulfan spiked in the medium inoculated by A. flos-aquae after 8 days of incubation. Therefore, the endosulfan fate was dependent on the species. Within 1 day of incubation, two Anabaena species produced low amounts of beta-endosulfan after application of alpha-endosulfan. These results suggest the presence of isomerase in the Anabaena species. Further studies using a fermentor to control the medium pH at 7.2 to minimize chemical hydrolysis of endosulfan revealed a major production of endodiol with minor amounts of endosulfan sulfate and the unknown compound. These results showed that the production of the unknown compound might be dependent on the alkaline pH in the medium and that the production of endodiol by A. flos-aquae might be biologically controlled. This study showed that two algal species could contribute in the detoxification pathways of endosulfan in the soil environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anabaena / growth & development
  • Anabaena / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Endosulfan / chemistry
  • Endosulfan / metabolism*
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Insecticides / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Soil / analysis


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Insecticides
  • Soil
  • Endosulfan