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Describe how bacteria could be used to degrade hazardous wastes.

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juniorgirl2012 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 16, 2011 at 2:49 AM via web

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Describe how bacteria could be used to degrade hazardous wastes.

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trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 17, 2011 at 7:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Bacteria can be genetically engineered for many purposes. One such purpose is for the degradation of toxic wastes using metabolic pathways to do so. By engineering the bacterial plasmid, which is a circular strand of DNA and inserting extra genes, the bacteria may be able to perform tasks such as cleaning up an oil spill or breaking down toxic wastes. Once a bacteria has been successfully modified, after it reproduces by cell division, each cell thereafter will copy the bacterial DNA and the gene that was inserted into the plasmid also. Therefore, a virtual endless supply of these bacteria will result that can perform the desired task.

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