DATABASE: Eating Pollution

Science  16 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5742, pp. 1795e
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5742.1795e

To us, the molecule cyclohexane is a noxious solvent for making products such as rubber and wood stains. But to the bacterium Brachymonas petroleovorans, it's dinner. A strain of the bug can break down cyclohexane and use it as a source of carbon. Researchers hoping to harness microbial metabolism for environmental clean up should visit the Biocatalysis/Biodegradation Database at the University of Minnesota. The site displays the biochemical pathways that allow various kinds of bacteria to disassemble a long list of pollutants, from the carcinogen carbon tetrachloride to the pesticide parathion.

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