Chemical byproducts of dry cleaning and silicon chip production are dechlorinated by the microbe dehalococcoides ethenogenes
Scientists have deciphered the genome sequence of a microbe that can be used to clean up pollution by chlorinated solvents – a major category of groundwater contaminants that are often left as byproducts of dry cleaning or industrial production.
The study of the DNA sequence of Dehalococcoides ethenogenes, which appears in the January 7 issue of Science, found evidence that the soil bacterium may have developed the metabolic capability to consume chlorinated solvents fairly recently – possibly by acquiring genes in an adaptation related to the increasing prevalence of the pollutants. "The genome sequence contributes greatly to the understanding of what makes this microbe tick and why its metabolic diet is so unusual," says TIGR scientist Rekha Seshadri, the primary author of the Science paper.
"These talented microbes are providing us with important tools to help clean up pollutants," says TIGR President Claire M. Fraser, a coauthor of the Science paper. "By revealing the secrets of microbial metabolism, genomics can be a boon to the environment."
Robert Koenig | EurekAlert!
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