Putting Biotechnology to Work Cleaning Polluted Land


Tests Focus on Heavy Metals Contamination

In North America, the term brownfield is used to describe sites with suspected or known pollution due to hazardous waste. Many sit unused for decades because of the high cost of returning them to land that is safe to redevelop.
Mopping up sites contaminated with heavy metals is a growing concern as more and more of these areas are being discovered and designated all the time. One estimate put the number of brownfields in the U.S. at over 500,000 though heavy metals were not always the culprit. And the methods used for remediation such as introducing biological organisms to affected sites are not without their shortcomings. 

As recently reported by Alex Berezow on the American Council on Science and Health's website, techniques using biotechnology are growing in popularity with researchers. One example of trying to develop genetically engineered microbes to attack heavy metals was referenced not long ago in the journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 

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