Thengodkar, R.R.M. & Sivakami, S. Biodegradation (2010) 21: 637. doi:10.1007/s10532-010-9331-6
Spirulina is a photosynthetic, filamentous, spiral-shaped, multicellular, blue-green microalga. The two most important species are Spirulinamaxima and Spirulinaplatensis. Spirulina is considered an excellent food, lacking toxicity and having corrective properties against viral attacks, anemia, tumor growth and malnutrition. We have observed that cultures of Spirulina platensis grow in media containing up to 80 ppm of the organophosphorous pesticide, Chlorpyrifos. It was found to be due to an alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity that was detected in cell free extracts of Spirulina platensis. This activity was purified from the cell free extracts using ammonium sulphate precipitation and gel filtration and shown to belong to the class of EC 220.127.116.11 ALP. The purified enzyme degrades 100 ppm Chlorpyrifos to 20 ppm in 1 h transforming it into its primary metabolite 3, 5, 6-trichloro-2-pyridinol. This is the first report of degradation of Chlorpyrifos by Spirulina platensis whose enzymic mechanism has been clearly identified. These findings have immense potential for harnessing Spirulina platensis in bioremediation of polluted ecosystems.