Microorganism Cleans Up Toxic Groundwater

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 7, 2004   View Article

A microorganism too small to see with the naked eye may be the answer to one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest environmental problems: hundreds of billions of gallons of groundwater contaminated with uranium and other toxic chemicals.

The microorganism, called Geobacter sulferreducens, has a unique metabolism—it passes electrons onto metals to get energy from its food in the same way that we humans breathe in oxygen to break down our food.

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