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Microbes Clean Pollution from Abandoned Mines

researcher looking at algae in pond

The coal mining industry in Pennsylvania left behind a legacy of abandoned mines that continue to pollute rivers and streams with acid mine discharge. Penn State professors Jennifer Macalady and Bill Burgos lead an interdisciplinary team researching newly discovered microbes capable of rapid removal of toxic metals in acidic environments. The researchers believe that a microbial treatment stage can be added to passive treatment systems to improve their efficiency. Penn State students are helping volunteer citizen groups like the Moshannon Creek Watershed Association to map the watershed to identify sources of pollution in need of treatment.


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