Researchers have found a way to remove organic pollutants from water using microbes. Image source: Wikipedia.Researchers have found a way to remove organic pollutants from water using microbes. Image source: Wikipedia.Researchers have found a way to remove organic pollutants from water using microbes. Researchers from the NUS Environmental Research Institute (NERI) and the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) say that microbes can be used to help cleanse the country’s waterways, as published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

By extracting the DNA and RNA of members of the microbial community, the research team was able to identify their functions in the aquatic system. The marker-based microbial functions provide a higher resolving power than chemical markers currently in use.

"This study has enabled us to identify the key drivers of microbial communities and their functions at a watershed-scale,” says lead author of the report, Dr. Gourvendu Saxena. The findings can be used to understand microbial activity responsible for removing and neutralizing organic pollutants, which is critical to developing ecologically friendly waterways in rapidly urbanizing environments.

The scientists discovered that the presence of aluminum, copper and potassium was essential to the microbe community’s ability to perform this cleansing, and also that the microbes could remove and neutralize organic pollutants.

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