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 How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>