Moreover, he added, the genome sequences of several bacteria in the Geobacteraceae family are now known, which may help scientists engineer more efficient bacteria that degrade pollutants more quickly.
Bioremediation, or the use of organisms to clean up pollutants, is gaining popularity as a cheaper and environmentally more benign method of removing toxic pollutants.
Much of the work in Lovley's laboratory centers on finding ways to clean up uranium contamination from atomic weapons production. Uranium poses a particular problem because it dissolves in water and contaminates groundwater.
Lovley has found that microbes from the Geobacteraceae family strip a couple of electrons from a form of uranium and convert it into a less harmful form that is not soluble and therefore does not contaminate underground water supplies.
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