|Date:||Wed, 5 May 1999 10:31:26 -0700 (PDT)|
|Subject:||Neutralizing explosives with genetically engineered tobacco plants|
The Washington Post, May 3, 1999, pA11. Full text available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-05/03/031l-050399-idx.html British researchers may have found a way to use tobacco plants to save lives. They genetically engineered tobacco seedlings to safely clean up dangerous dumps of abandoned explosives. In the May issue of Nature Biotechnology, Brian S. Hooker and Rodney S. Skeen of the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, Washington, said nearly two dozen sites in the United States contain explosives such as TNT and nitroglycerin, some of which "are literally on the verge of exploding." Neil C. Bruce and his University of Cambridge colleagues engineered tobacco plants to produce an enzyme normally found in bacteria and known to neutralize the unstable ingredients in explosives such as TNT and nitroglycerin. The researchers said "this example suggests that transgenic plants expressing microbial degradative genes may provide a generally applicable strategy for bioremediation of organic pollutants in soil."
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