Micro-organisms present in the soil can be used to clean the land which has been contaminated by explosives, according to the scientists belonging to the University of York. The team led by the University of York's Professor Neil Bruce is reported to have Isolated a bacterial micro- organism in the soil in land contaminated by RDX that can utilize the explosives as a source of nitrogen for growth.
However, on finding that the bacteria present in the soil could not degrade the RDX quickly enough to stop the contamination of land and ground water, the York team redeployed the enzyme in the bacteria into plants, giving them the ability to biodegrade the pollutant more efficiently. Prof Bruce said that as a part of the process the team had utilized the bacteria and put it into plants with large amounts of biomass so as to degrade the explosive and make it harmless. The method can be sustained as its cost and maintenance were low, and can serve the purpose of cleaning vast areas of contaminated land, particularly at industrial sites and military training ranges. The Nature Biotechnology has published the findings of the research.