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E.Coli Cleans Nuclear Waste

EcoliEveryone knows that E.Coli makes people sick to their stomach.  Well, it turns out that it gives nuclear waste a big stomach ache as well.  It turns out that researchers at the University of Birmingham found that E.Coli break down phytic acid and release phosphate molecules which then bind to uranium.  This creates uranium phosphate precipitate which can be harvested to recover the uranium, and there you have it.  The nuclear waste is gone.

This is actually not a new process.  The process was first discovered in 1995, however, a more expensive and less efficient additive was used in place of the phytic acid used today making the process much less cost effective.  Now with the price of uranium going up and the cost efficiencies of the new process, using E.Coli has become viable.

It turns out that the uranium recovered can be used for nuclear energy.  This benefits countries that do not readily have uranium supplies.  A green nuclear future could be in store for all of us thanks to E.Coli.

via inhabitat

image via bioweb.uwlax.edu

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