Recycling rubber

American chemists have identified some strains of sulphur-munching bacteria, Sulfolobus, from the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, that can help recycle rubber from old tyres (New Scientist, Vol 145, No 1963).

According to Bob Romine of the Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, Washington, powdered rubber from tyre wastes is put in fermenters which contain the sulphur-loving bacteria. These microorganisms consume the sulphur, leaving the polymer backbone of carbons intact.

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