The Secret Cleaning Power of Bacteria
Bacteria and cleanliness are not words that many people think of having a connection. But microbial bacteria are efficient at digesting or breaking down substances and organic matter such as germs, sewage, oily stains and various industrial waste products and other messy stuff that people generally don’t want contact with. Today, bacteria are being put to work in an increasing number of cleanup projects. Bruce Rittmann, a Fulton Schools professor of environmental engineering is using “microbial communities” to treat wastewater. He is working on a process to use bacteria to rid water sources of polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have strong chemical bonds that make them difficult to remove. He is hoping to employ microbial organisms to transform chemicals these microbes consider food but we think of as pollution.