Science 2 min read

Researchers Discover Pollution-Eating Bacteria

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NaughtyNut /

A team of scientists from Washington State University reportedly discovered pollution-eating bacteria at the Yellowstone National Park. This special kind of bacteria could potentially help solve the rising issue of environmental pollution on our planet.

In a paper, the researchers described the multiple bacterial communities found in a remote area of Yellowstone.

Last August, the team, led by WSU graduate student Abdelrhman Mohamed, working in the park in search of life within its geysers and hot springs.

Seven miles into their journey, in the Heart Lake Geyser Basin area, Mohamed and his team discovered four crystal clear pools of hot water.

The scientists reportedly submerged a few electrodes on the edge of the water and left it there for over a month, hoping that they would lure any fauna out of hiding.

Pollution-Eating Bacteria

32 days after they left the electrodes, the team went back to collect them. Surprisingly, the devices did capture what Mohamed and his colleagues were hoping to collect: pollution-eating bacteria.

Mohamed claims that this is the first finding of this bacteria in such an extreme environment. According to the study, the spring where the bacteria were gathered has temperatures ranging from 110 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The natural conditions found in geothermal features such as hot springs are difficult to replicate in laboratory settings. So, we developed a new strategy to enrich heat-loving bacteria in their natural environment,” Haluk Beyenal, one of the researchers, said.

The bacteria can reportedly absorb pollution by converting toxic pollutants into less harmful substances. Aside from that, they could also generate electricity during the process – a highly significant discovery in humankind’s quest for sustainable sources of power.

While this is not the first use of bacteria to generate electricity, the question still lingers around their use as stable sources of energy.

Read More: Researchers Create Paper Battery Powered By Bacteria

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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