Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New bug to tackle pollution

10.10.2003


A new, all-natural, pollutant-busting microbe has been discovered by scientists in Germany. Research published in the October 2003 issue of Microbiology, a Society for General Microbiology journal, describes a new strain of bacterium, which could be used in the near future to clean up polluted land.



Over the years, many harsh and highly toxic chemicals have built-up in the environment. Dr Rapp and his colleagues at the National Research Centre for Biotechnology in Braunschweig, Germany, have found the first bacterium that has two essential qualities that allow it to cleanse contaminated soil of some of these chemicals.

“For a microbe, two characteristics are important for de-contamination of land,” explains Dr Peter Rapp, “not only the ability to break down the polluting chemicals, but also, the ability to actually access the chemicals in the first place”. Tests carried out show that a species of Rhodococcus bacteria, called strain MS11, not only breaks down a wide selection of pollutants, but also makes its own detergent to help it access them.


Some bacteria are already known to naturally break down pollutants in order to use them as a source of food, but unfortunately the process in soil is slow. “The problem is that chemicals stick to the particles of soil or hide inside hollows, and this makes the job of cleaning land very difficult,” explained Dr Rapp. “The bugs can’t get at the pollutants, which means that they remain in the soil for decades, slowly seeping into our water supplies”.

If they are helped, these bacteria can be used to clean up polluted soil. By adding large amounts of detergent first, the bacteria can gain access to the chemicals. Unfortunately, the use of detergents to help clean soil is limited, because it costs so much to manufacture the amounts of detergent needed for large areas of land.

“The fact that strain MS11 can degrade a wide range of chemicals, as well as making its own detergent, makes this bacterium perfect for bioremediation of sites polluted for years, or even decades, with unpleasant chemicals” explained Dr Rapp. “A further benefit is that strain MS11 has not been created in a lab, but was isolated naturally from the environment, and so there will not be the issue of transfer of dangerous genes that is associated with genetically modified organisms”.

Strain MS11 has been found to be particularly good at breaking down chlorinated benzenes. These chemicals are widely used in industry in the production of herbicides and pesticides, as well as for dissolving such materials as oils and rubber. And, although some bacteria are already known to break down chlorinated benzenes, none have the added ability to make their own detergent to help them do this.

Chlorinated benzenes are known to cause many serious health problems ranging from disorders of the immune system to harmful effects on the liver, kidney, thyroid and lung.

Faye Jones | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>