New Microbe May Help Clean TCA Superfund Sites

Date: October 31, 2002

Source: News Room

A bacterium that thrives by feeding on a common pollutant may provide a means to help clean up contaminated soil and ground water. The newly discovered microbe derives energy by degrading trichloroethane, or TCA, a widely used industrial solvent found at half of the contaminated U.S. Superfund sites, Michigan State University researchers have reported in the journal Science. The microbe, dubbed TCA1, breaks down trichloroethane to a less-toxic substance. Testing so far has found TCA is the only substance the new bacterium targets. TCA1 was isolated from sediment dredged from the bottom of New York's Hudson River and also occurs naturally in Michigan's Kalamazoo River.

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