First-ever side-by-side comparison of PCB-laden sediments taken from separate, contaminated rivers
One of Mother Nature’s most promising weapons to break down persistent, toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is bacteria. Now, a study by Carnegie Mellon University scientists provides convincing evidence that how quickly a PCB gets eaten and what it becomes depends on where it settles. Using DNA fingerprinting, the Carnegie Mellon team discovered distinct bacterial populations in the first-ever side-by-side comparison of PCB-laden sediments taken from separate, contaminated rivers. The results are being reported by graduate student Christine Wang on Sunday, Aug. 22, at the 228th annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Philadelphia, Pa. (ENVR 12, Loews -- Commonwealth B).
The investigators studied sediments taken from two rivers in upstate New York where local industries had released PCBs over several decades. They found that bacteria in contaminated Hudson River sediment were faster at digesting an introduced PCB compared with sluggish bacterial cousins at work in contaminated Grasse River sediment.
Lauren Ward | EurekAlert!
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