An irrigation supply channel near Clare in the Burdekin Valley, Queensland. An enzyme developed by CSIRO shows promise at removing the herbicide atrazine from irrigation run-off.

An irrigation supply channel near Clare in the Burdekin Valley, Queensland. An enzyme developed by CSIRO shows promise at removing the herbicide atrazine from irrigation run-off.

Enzyme enters the fight to keep run-off water herbicide free

Farmers around the world are expected to benefit from the successful trial of an enzyme that breaks down the herbicide, atrazine, in run-off water. (7:01)

  • 17 February 2009 | Updated 23 November 2011

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Atrazine is a widely used and useful herbicide used to stop broadleaf and grassy weeds in major crops. The downside, depending on its use, is that residue can make its way into run-off water. This has been a particular problem overseas, and in some cases, it’s led to restrictions being placed on the use of atrazine in the EU and USA.

This situation is set to change thanks to a research team from CSIRO Entomology, and farmers around the world are expected to benefit from the successful trial of an enzyme that breaks down atrazine, in run-off water.

In this Podcast, Cameron Begley, General Manager, Business Development and Commercialisation at CSIRO Entomology explains how the enzyme works in breaking down residual atrazine, and how the search for the enzyme began with a hunt for bacteria that ‘fed’ on atrazine.

Read more about Bioremediation to keep atrazine from waterways (Media release 17 Feb 09).