if two types of bacteria that cannot naturally live together are forced to do so, they can rapidly clean up sites contaminated with toxic metals. Geoffrey Gadd and colleagues at the uk's Dundee University claim to have designed a system that allows two types of soil bacteria to work in tandem to remove metals efficiently.
The system consists of a reactor split into two compartments. One compartment holds bacteria that depend on air. It oxidises sulphur and dissolves heavy metals ores.
The other compartment contains bacteria that can only survive in the absence of oxygen, thereby reducing sulphur and metal content. Contaminated soil is pumped continuously through both compartments, allowing each type of bacteria to independently clean the earth, according to the researchers.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.