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Biosafety and the Environmental Uses of Micro-Organisms

Conference Proceedings

image of Biosafety and the Environmental Uses of Micro-Organisms

Micro-organisms play a fundamental role in the environment. Yet their role is the result of complex biogeochemical processes by consortia of micro-organisms and the function of individual species is not clear in many cases.

This publication provides an overview of the current situation and relevant developments in environmental microbiology, as well as its potential application, which covers: use of micro-organisms for agriculture, production purposes, bioremediation, and cleaning purpose; environmental applications of microbial symbionts of insects; and environmental risk/safety assessment of the deliberate release of engineered micro-organisms.

 

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Fighting malaria with engineered mosquito symbiotic bacteria

Insecticides that kill the mosquito and drugs that kill the parasite are the only weapons presently available to fight the unbearably high human malaria toll. As mosquito and parasite resistance to these agents limits their effectiveness and there is currently no effective malaria vaccine available, clearly new means to fight the disease must be developed. This chapter explores the feasibility of an alternative strategy: rather than kill the vector mosquito, modify it to render it incapable of sustaining parasite development. This chapter investigates genetically modifying the symbiotic bacteria that naturally occur in the mosquito’s midgut, by producing bacteria that carry the same anti-parasite genes. Major remaining challenges are to devise means to introduce the modified bacteria into mosquitoes in the field and to resolve regulatory and ethical issues related to the release of genetically modified organisms in nature.

English

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