Hyperaccumulation of Arsenic in S. Cerevisiae

Case ID:

This invention is a genetically engineered strain of yeast used to develop bioreactors to remove arsenic from natural groundwater supplies.


Background & Unmet Need:

Arsenic is a semi-metal element that is odorless and tasteless.  It commonly enters drinking water by way of natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural or industrial practices.  Drinking arsenic contaminated water could lead to skin damage, circulatory problems, and an increased risk of cancer.  There is a need for the cost-effective removal of arsenic from natural groundwater supplies.


Technology Description:

WSU faculty have developed an innovative biological technology that has promise to cost‑effectively remove arsenic from drinking water.  The technology employs the use of a genetically engineered strain of yeast with the ability to hyperaccumulate arsenic without releasing the arsenic back into the environment.  The yeast is being optimized for arsenic accumulation; the next step will be the development of bioreactors to remove arsenic from natural groundwater supplies.


Commercial Applications:

  • Bioremediation of water supplies contaminated with arsenic, cadmium, antimony, mercury, and possibly lead


Stage of Development:



Competitive Advantages:

  • Genetically engineered yeast provides a cost effective reagent for the bioremediation of arsenic


Intellectual Property Status:

US patent #7,524,669


Related Publications or Citations of Work:

Ghosh, M., et al. (1999). "Pathways of As(III) detoxification in Saccharomyces cerevisiae." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96(9): 5001-5006.



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Joan Dunbar
Associate Vice President for Technology Commercialization
Wayne State University
(313) 577-5542
Barry Rosen
Mallika Ghosh