- If you are not yet a Down To Earth subscriber, please click here to subscribe: Subscription
- If you are an existing Down To Earth subscriber, please log in to download digital archives.
is a bacterium that can supposedly carry a metal load that is equal to its own weight. Amazing, right? The bug, the common cyanobacterium Oscillatoria sp which has been isolated from Wazirabad Yamuna water, can scavenge as much as one gram of copper per gram dry weight at 120 ppm equilibrium concentration, say the scientists. They think that the bacterium might be an excellent candidate for developing copper absorbent as it selectively picks up copper even in cases where there are zinc and cobalt ions present. And since the bug picks up the metal through a simple ion exchange process, all that is needed to bring its load-carrying capacity back to normal is a wash in hard water, the scientists explain. Once dried, the non-growing biomass can easily be stored at 80C. It has all the traits desired in a metal absorbent such as fast uptake at room temperature and good reusability value. The bacterium has already proved its capabilities in the Indian mine industries where it was employed to pick up copper and zinc. Further studies on the bug are being conducted at the department of microbiology in Delhi University's South Campus in Delhi, India.
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.