Bioremediation of toxic polluting compounds is an important part of modern ecological reclamation projects. Technologies in this field use living materials often bacteria that are able to utilize pollutants for life processes and release non-hazardous metabolites. Some bacteria are able to perform this function using their endogenous genome and some have been genetically modified to fulfill this role. Technology Researchers at the University of Iowa have isolated Methylobacterium species from Poplar tissue that is capable of degrading nitroaromatic and nitroamine pollutants culminating in mineralization to C02. This metabolism has been demonstrated on explosives such as TNT RDX and HMX which are common contaminants in military sites in the US and Europe. These bacteria are effective when distributed over an area of soil fresh water or sediment which has been contaminanted by these compounds. Patent: Patent has been awarded for this technology (7214509)
Contaminants are mineralized into CO2. The bacteria are able to fully metabolize the pollutants to their constituent inorganic oxidized carbon.