strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

  • Richard Conniff

  • Reviews for Richard Conniff’s Books

    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

  • Wall of the Dead

  • Categories

  • Advertisements

The Next Big Thing #3: Eats Dry-Cleaning Fluid for Breakfast

Posted by Richard Conniff on December 27, 2013

It sometimes seems as if the entire world is irreversibly contaminated with industrial chemicals. Groundwater, for instance, is widely tainted with the industrial solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) and the dry-cleaning fluid tetrachloroethylene (PCE). Microbes may be our best hope for cleaning up the mess. When researchers first discovered in the 1990s that chlorine-hungry bacterial species in the Dehalococcoides genus could break TCE and PCE down into harmless ethane—the same gas used to ripen fruit—it sounded too good to be true. In the first test case, researchers injected a beer-keg’s worth of bacterial culture into the heavily contaminated groundwater beneath Kelly Air Force Base in Texas. Monitoring of wells showed the progress of the bacteria as they quickly spread through the polluted area—and after just 115 days, the PCE problem there was fixed. Dehalococcoides treatment, combined with a little molasses or lactose as a feedstock, is now a standard commercial cleanup technology. Other researchers are also working on bacterial methods to clean up mercury and other heavy metals, mining wastes, and 500 million gallons of North American groundwater contaminated with uranium.


One Response to “The Next Big Thing #3: Eats Dry-Cleaning Fluid for Breakfast”

  1. […] below to read 10 ways it could happen. 1. Wildlife Probiotics 2. Working on the Right Mussels 3. Eats Dry-Cleaning Fluid for Breakfast 4. Nine Billion Served 5. A Crop for All Seasons 6. Disarming the Enemy 7. Post-Antibiotic […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s