RBI Scientist Awarded US Patent
RBI scientist Dubravka Hršak, PhD, from the Institute for Marine and Environmental Research and engineer Maja Havriluk were awarded a US patent on February 9th 2010 for their discovery of a "Mixed bacterial culture for atrazine degradation". The patent describes a new mixed bacterial culture with specific properties that quickly and completely degrades atrazine and other s-triazite pesticides over a wide concentration range and at different temperatures.
Atrazine is a selective triazite herbicide which has been used to control wide leaf weeds for almost 40 years. It is used in 80 countries worldwide. In the United States it is the most commonly used herbicide especially for weed control in corn and sugar cane crops. Because of its wide application and relatively good mobility in soil, atrazine is one of the most common pollutants of soil, surface and groundwater. Furthermore, recent studies demonstrate its negative ecotoxic properties and all this raises the need to develop new methods to speed up the process of degradation and removal of atrazine from polluted areas.