Accurate and convenient detection of explosive components is vital for a wide spectrum of applications ranging from national security and demilitarization to environmental monitoring and restoration. With the increasing use of DNAN as. a replacement for 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) in insensitive explosive formulations, there has been a growing interest in strategies to minimize its release and to understand and predict its behavior in the environment. Consequently, a convenient tool. for its detection and destruction could enable development of More effective decontamination and demilitarization strategies. Biosensors and biocatalysts have limited applicability to the more traditional explosives because of the inherent limitations of the relevant enzymes. Here, we report a highly specific, convenient and robust biocatalyst based on a novel ether hydrolase enzyme, DNAN demethylase (that requires no cofactors), from a Nocardioides strain that can mineralize DNAN. Biogenic silica encapsulation was used to stabilize the enzyme and enable it to be packed into a Model microcolumn for application as a biosensor or as a bioreactor for continuous destruction of DNAN. The immobilized enzyme was stable and not inhibited by other insensitive munitions constituents. An alternative method for DNAN detection involved coating the encapsulated enzyme on cellulose filter paper. The hydrolase based biocatalyst could provide the basis for a wide spectrum of applications including detection, identification; destruction Or inertion of explosives containing DNAN (demilitarization operations), and for environmental restorations.