Oxidative biodegradation of phosphorothiolates by fungal laccase

G. Amitai*, R. Adani, G. Sod-Moriah, I. Rabinovitz, A. Vincze, H. Leader, B. Chefetz, L. Leibovitz-Persky, D. Friesem, Y. Hadar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Organophosphorus (OP) insecticides and nerve agents that contain P-S bond are relatively more resistant to enzymatic hydrolysis. Purified phenol oxidase (laccase) from the white rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus (Po) together with the mediator 2,2'-azinobis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonate) (ABTS) displayed complete and rapid oxidative degradation of the nerve agents VX and Russian VX (RVX) and the insecticide analog diisopropyl-Amiton with specific activity: k(sp)=2200, 667 and 1833 nmol min-1 mg-1, respectively (pH 7.4, 37°C). A molar ratio of 1:20 for OP/ABTS and 0.05 M phosphate at pH 7.4 provided the highest degradation rate of VX and RVX. The thermostable laccase purified from the fungus Chaetomium thermophilium (Ct) in the presence of ABTS caused a 52-fold slower degradation of VX with k(sp)=42 nmol min-1 mg-1. The enzymatic biodegradation products were identified by 31P-NMR and GC/MS analysis. Copyright (C) 1998 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Nov 1998


  • 2,2'-Azinobis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonate)
  • Diisopropyl-Amiton
  • Enzymatic oxidation
  • Laccase
  • O-Ethyl S-[N,N-diisopropylaminoethyl]methylphosphonothiolate
  • O-Isobutyl S-[N,N-diethylaminoethyl]methylphosphonothiolate
  • Phosphorothiolate
  • Pleurotus ostreatus


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