Friday, March 7, 2008

From Contaminant to Hydrogen

By Rachael

In 2002, Biodesign Institute’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology’s director, Bruce Rittmann, invented a treatment system called the membrane biofilm reactor. This process uses naturally occurring micro-organisms to remove contaminants from water. It removes contaminants such as TCE (chlorinated solvent trichloroethene) which is used as a cleaning agent and solvent for many military, commercial, and industrial applications. The improper handling, storage, and disposal of TCE has lead to frequent detection of TCE in the groundwater. TCE has the potential to cause livre damage, malfunctions in the central nervous system and it is considered a likely human carcinogen. Scientists have discovered specialized micro-organisms that can replace the chlorine in the chlorinated molecules with hydrogen. This process is called reductive dechlorination. The process is much more complicated but these are the basics.. See

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