University of Arizona Testing 'Magic' Microbes To Degrade Chemicals From Explosives

By Chloe Jones
Published: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 8:00am
Updated: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 9:44am
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.11 MB)

Toxic chemicals from military explosives have done severe environmental harm. But researchers from the University of Arizona are working to lessen the impact of new explosives.

The U.S. Department of Defense is considering using explosives that can’t be detonated accidentally. But there is concern about how the compounds in the devices might affect the environment. A University of Arizona research team, led by Jim Field, is testing how microorganisms found naturally in soil can degrade these potentially harmful chemicals.

"We see how the microorganisms grow, and how they modify or even completely degrade these new explosive compounds," Field said. "So what our project is shooting for is that the compounds will become completely degraded."

Field says that the project will not be done for approximately three years, but expects to see substantial results within one year.

If you like this story, Donate Now!

Like Arizona Science Desk on Facebook