Narrator: This is Science Today. Natural products are being used to clean up selenium contamination by researchers at the University of California, Riverside. Soil microbiology and biochemistry professor William T. Frankenberger, Jr., describes certain elements which stimulate microbes to convert selenium into a non-toxic gas.
Frankenberger: It involves a carbon source, being either orange peel or cattle manure or some other food source that would stimulate these organisms.
Narrator: There's even a group of bacteria which thrive on protein sources, such as casein in milk.
Frankenberger: If I was to pour milk on a selenium contaminated sediment, I would see a big flux of selenium gas coming off. Same thing with eggs. It may sound like I'm making a cake here, but if I add milk and eggs and wheat, gluten protein, I would get a tremendous amount of selenium gas coming off and these are natural products that we can use in a bioremedation technology to remove hazardous waste.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.