Appetite for junk

Cement-eating bacteria are the main causes of deterioration of bridges, roads and other structures. But now, their appetite for destruction can be used for a cleaner world. The microbes can decontaminate nuclear plants by "eating' away radioactivity from the structures. The bacteria produce a chemical that dissolves concrete, loosening the contamination from the surface. Both the microbe and the contamination can be vacuumed off, making cleanup safer and inexpensive. Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company in Idaho, USA, has completed the first of two trial tests and plans to market the microbe-cleaning technology within a year or two (Business Week , December 22, 1997).

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