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MEI Online: Commodities: Non-Metallic Ores: Asbestos: Latest News: February 13th 2003

 
    
:: Fungi in Asbestos Remediation  

Researchers at the University of Torino in Italy believe that it may be possible to use fungi to help decontaminate soils that have been polluted by asbestos. According to the researchers, there is no good way of cleaning asbestos contamination around mines and factories. However, part of the cancer-causing ability of asbestos is due to its iron content, which in the body triggers the generation of carcinogenic chemicals called free-radicals. The researchers believe that they can use fungi to reduce the iron content of the most dangerous asbestos mineral, crocidolite, and destroy its ability to generate free-radicals.

The researchers have found that several commonly occurring fungi that cause rot in various plants are particularly effective at removing iron from asbestos. The researchers suggest that such fungi could be seeded in contaminated sites and their growth encouraged by additional nutrients. Furthermore, the interwoven filament-like forms of the fungi could also help stabilise asbestos fibres within the soil.

 

   

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Contact:
Dr S. Perotto
Dipartimento Biologia vegetale dell'Universita and IPP-CNR, V. Ie Mattioli 25, Torino, 10125, Italy
silvia.perotto@unito.it

Source:
Mining Journal, Jan.31, 2003, p.70

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