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Solution to Pollution: New Bacteria Eats Toxic Waste

lates have been characterized genetically, Utah State’s Center for Integrated Biosystems funded the biologists to examine the genetic material for the five isolates. They answered questions about the size of their chromosome and whether plasmids were present in the mycobacterium. “Putting together genomes tells us a lot about the history of the world and may even help us with its future,?said Joanne Hughes, a Utah State Biology professor.

The Department of Energy will sequence the genetic material of the microbes, and the researchers will then participate in the annotation process by which genes in the sequences will be identified. The researchers will be able to understand the genetic material that allows these bacteria to degrade the PAHs and survive in the soil. Such knowledge may help researchers better understand and utilize the organisms to destroy PAH contaminants in the environment by applying engineering principles to microbial biotechnology, said Sims. “This research is extending itself to the world, and we are really excited about it,?said Anne Anderson, a biology professor and team member.

The group wants to fully understand how these microbes function and survive in the environment so contaminated sites around the world can reap the benefits. Collaborations are currently under way in Nizhnekamsk in the Russian Federation to assist with the treatment of industrial residues, in Poland to renew soils for agricultural production and in the Netherlands to clean up sediments dredged from canals and waterways. “I want to congratulate the Utah State team on the funding for this project,?said Joop Harmsen, senior scientist at Alterra Research Center and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. “PAHs have contaminated large amounts of sediment in the Netherlands, and doing this naturally through bioremediation is the most cost-effective way to treat the contaminated sediments.?/p>

The research involves many levels of cooperation between the s
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Source:Utah State University


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