Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Could seaweed clean up DDT?

14.04.2004


Adding small amounts of seaweed to contaminated soil could prove to be a natural and effective way of breaking down the toxic pesticide DDT, according to new research in the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology. A British biologist, Ian Singleton, worked with colleagues in Australia and Thailand to find the right formula to use. Too much seaweed hindered biodegradation, but the most effective mix – 0.5% seaweed added to waterlogged soil – managed to remove 80% of the DDT present over six weeks, lowering the levels of DDT enough to pass Australian Environment Protection Authority criteria.

Why it is necessary

Although DDT is banned in most of the industrial world, it is one of the most effective anti-mosquito agents available. Twenty five countries, including South Africa, still use it in the fight against malaria, despite strong opposition from environmental groups. If DDT could be more quickly broken down after use, the overall health benefits to countries with big malaria problems could be enormous.



Why it works

The initial breakdown of DDT depends on particular microbes that function best anaerobically (without oxygen). The researchers used waterlogged soil to encourage the anaerobic microbes. Seaweed is a good source of sodium, which in low concentrations “significantly enhances” the microbes’ breakdown of DDT. Sodium disperses soil, thus exposing DDT to microbes; it also affects the amount of dissolved organic carbon in the soil, which in turn makes a difference to the way organisms access the contaminants. When too much seaweed is used, the dissolved carbon and excess sodium gets in the way of the process.

The authors suggest that the seaweed method “has potential” in accelerating DDT clean-up: “it would work best in small areas where DDT has been accidentally spilled or added to soil rather than being applied on a large scale, as the process has to be controlled and monitored.”

Rosamund Snow | alfa
Further information:
http://interscience.wiley.com/jctb

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
17.01.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

nachricht Robotic weeders: to a farm near you?
10.01.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>