Cornell University microbiologists, looking for bioremediation microbes to "eat" toxic pollutants, report the first field test of a technique called stable isotopic probing (SIP) in a contaminated site. And they announce the discovery and isolation of a bacterium that biodegrades naphthalene in coal tar contamination.
Scanning electron micrograph shows the newly discovered Polaromonas naphthalenivorans strain CJ2 bacterium dividing in two, each about 1 micron in diameter. The napthalene-eating bug was found in a coal-tar disposal site along the Hudson River by researchers from the NSF Microbial Observatory at Cornell University.
Copyright © 2003 PNAS.
Although naphthalene is not the most toxic component in coal tar, the microbiologists say their discovery might eventually help to speed the cleanup of hundreds of 19th and 20th century gasworks throughout the United States where the manufacture of gas from coal for homes and street lighting left a toxic legacy in the ground.
The National Science Foundation-funded research is reported in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS early edition, Oct. 27, 2003) by researchers working at the NSF Microbial Observatory at Cornell.
Roger Segelken | Cornell News
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