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E. A Bright Future for Phytoremediation

Narrator: This is Science Today. When you want to clean toxic chemicals out of the environment, it's not unusual to use microbes -- a method known as bioremediation. Biologist Norman Terry of the University of California, Berkeley says bioremediation has been around quite awhile.

Terry: But recently there's been a tremendous amount of interest in the idea of using phytoremediation -- use of plants to clean up the environment. And that I think has a tremendously exciting potential.

Narrator: Terry himself is working on ways to clean up selenium, a toxic pollutant, using constructed wetlands, or swamps. He sees a bright future for phytoremediation.

Terry: I think that in the next 10 to 20 years we'll see a tremendous increase in phytoremediation-type methods of cleaning up the environment. Everything from cleaning up the disaster at Chernobyl to cleaning up organic pollutants. So I think we've just scratched the surface and down the road there's going to be a tremendous amount of activity in this area.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.