Professor Megh Mallavarapu, of research and development group CRC Care and the University of South Australia, said that the bacteria will destroy a group of chemicals known as BTEX which has been linked to cancer, nerve damage and other diseases in humans.
"Fuel leaks are one of the most widespread forms of contamination in Australia and elsewhere,'' The Australian quoted Professor Mallavarapu, as saying.
"Former service station sites, fuel farms, garages, workshops, gasometers, oil spills, dry cleaners and factories which used or processed hydrocarbons or explosives are literally everywhere that has been closely settled for the past century or so," Megh added.
These sites are often the source of BTEX, which can pollute water and soil, or sometimes emerge from the ground as vapours.
"You just add the bacteria to the BTEX-contaminated water - and they go straight to work,'' Prof Mallavarapu said.