Mealtime for bacteria

Published: Wednesday 15 June 1994

SCIENTISTS at the University of Minnesota in the US have developed a new strain of bacteria to fight pollution caused by organohalides -- compounds of carbon and halogens such as chlorine and fluorine which cannot be degraded by naturally occurring bacteria (Nature, Vol 368, No 6472).

Pseudomonas putida G786 -- the new bacterial strain -- can gobble up organohalides, breaking them down to non-toxic end products, the scientists claim.

The research team identified 7 genes occurring in different bacteria, which are together capable of breaking up organohalides and inserted them using genetic engineering techniques into the new strain.

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