Microbial cleaning of pollution is refined

October 19, 2005

University of Massachusetts-Amherst scientists say strategies using microbes to clean polluted sites are becoming more refined due to gene sequencing.

The integrated approach of using gene sequencing, culture techniques and computer modeling allows scientists to better determine which microbes to use and when to use them with unprecedented precision against such environmental offenders as uranium and petroleum, said microbiologist Derek Lovley.

"If we know how the organisms will behave, and we know the site's hydrology and geochemistry, we'll actually be able to engineer the ideal conditions for cleanup," said Lovley.

He is presenting his research this week during the annual Soils, Sediments and Water Conference at the University-Massachusetts-Amherst. The work will also appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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