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Pollutant-eating bacteria not so rare

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Dioxane, a chemical in wide industrial use, has an enemy in naturally occurring bacteria that remove it from the environment. Researchers at Rice University have found that these bacteria are more abundant at spill sites than once thought.

They are designing tools to help environmental engineers determine the best way to clean up a contaminated site.

A Rice-led team discovered soluble di-iron mono-oxygenase (SDIMO) genes in bacteria thriving in contaminated Alaskan groundwater. The genes produce enzymes that degrade dioxane – specifically, the common form known as 1,4-Dioxane – into harmless substances.

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