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

78 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 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by United Nation University (UNU) & GIST Joint Programme on Science and Technology for Sustainability. We deeply thank Prof. C.M.J. Sagt in Utrecht University (NL) for kindly providing the purified cutinase from Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pisi . We are also grateful to Prof. Man Bock Gu, GIST, for the bioluminescent bacteria used in this study. This work was supported by Korea Research Foundation Grant (KRF-2004-005-D00057).


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Biodegradation and detoxification of organophosphate insecticide, malathion by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pisi cutinase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this