The bacterium belonging to the Rhodococcus genus can not only neutralise benzene but may also be able to transform it into a source of useful chemicals. This was reported by microbiologists at the University of New South Wales in Australia. The bacterium neutralises benzene's effect by metabolising it. It destroys the structure of benzene by using certain enzymes. The researchers are now trying to fine-tune the methods of breaking down compounds similar to benzene, such as toulene and xylene ( Vatis Update , Vol 5, No 11).