Malathion is an organophosphate insecticide that has been widely used for both domestic and commercial agricultural purposes. However, malathion has the potential to produce toxic effects in mammalian systems. In this study,
AA112 which was isolated from soil using enrichment technique could utilize the malathion as a sole carbon source and a source of energy.
AA112 was able to grow in MSMPY medium containing 42.75 mg/ml malathion. However, the optimum concentration of malathion which supported the maximum bacterial growth was found to be 22. 8 mg/ml. Malathion was used as an initial source of energy and carbon when it was found without additional carbon sources (in MSM medium) while it was utilized as second source of energy and carbon in a nutrient-supplemented medium (in MSMPY medium). Moreover, lead acetate test indicated that malathion was first attacked at a sulphur site 1–2 hours after the start of incubation. TLC and IR analysis indicated that malathion was completely degraded into diethyl succinate, hydrogen sulphide and phosphates. Therefore a malathion degradation pathway was proporsed. The degradation of malathion is attributed to the genes located on the chromosome and at least three proteins of high molecular size might be involved in malathion utilization. Bacteria able to use malathion as a food source or metabolize its residues in the environment to inactive, less toxic, and harmless compounds, could be used in bioremediation of an environmental pollution caused by the pesticide.