Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Inoculating trees to suck up pollutants

Bioremediation is the process of cleaning up pollution using living organisms. It can be a more efficient way to mine metals than digging them up. Plant water hyacinths in a polluted lake, let them grow and then harvest them, taking the pollutants with them. The concentration of metals in the dry plants is higher than ore.

Now it appears we can inoculate poplar trees with bacteria that increases their uptake of pollutants like TCE, a nasty chemical used in degreasing, textiles and even drycleaning. The article doesn’t talk about what happens next, what to do with the toxic trees. Remember, there is no “away.”


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