Monday, April 04, 2011

Science Continues to Solve Life's Problems

I don't know if any of you caught this the other day.

Algae Could Be Key to Cleaning Up Nuclear Accident Sites

Algae can secrete biofuels and pump out biologic drugs, and now researchers think it could help clean up radioactive accidents like the one unfolding at Japan's Fukushima nuclear facility.
A Northwestern University researcher has identified a certain kind of common algae, known as Closterium moniliferum, that has a unique penchant for sequestering strontium into crystals, a trick that could help remove the dangerous radioactive isotope strontium-90 from the environment.
Strontium-90 is particularly hazardous because of its similarity to calcium. Because the two atoms share similar atomic properties, radioactive strontium can end up getting into the same places calcium can, like milk, bones, bone marrow, and blood. But strontium-90 isn't a dominant element in reactor waste -- there is usually billions of times more harmless calcium than strontium in a nuclear spill -- so being able to separate the two is critical for quick and efficient cleanup.
That's where C. moniliferum comes in.


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I find this article to be wonderfully interesting. The possibilities and advantages of using an algae is pretty incredible and wonderful at the same time.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Doug Funny said...

Algae has long been thought to be nothing more than a source of oceanic oxygen. We are finding that it has some other interesting possibilities, if you can isolate it into individual species and culture that specific one. Algae coliforms are almost like human communities, with individuals of variegated talents clustered around to help the entire commune survive come what may. Harry Reid is pumping your tax money into them as a source of biofuels in Nevada, which has much more coal than algae, but it's nice to hear some other interesting uses for the critters.

8:15 PM, April 04, 2011  
Blogger Joe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:56 PM, April 06, 2011  
Blogger Joe said...

Hopefully, algae may serve some role to help clean up the mess in Japan. Whether it will work in a practical application remains to be seen.

As for biofuel, it takes copius amounts of algae to produce fuel.

In the mean time, we either give up transportation or we develop the resources we have been given; ie: oil.

There is enough underground in the US to last for the years needed to develop alternatives. We just HAVE to allow it to be sucked up and used.

2:02 PM, April 06, 2011  
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11:16 PM, March 18, 2014  

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