Mutant Plants Suck Toxic TNT (Yes, That TNT) Out of Soil

Nick Stockton Science

Mutant Plants Suck Toxic TNT (Yes, That TNT) Out of Soil

You love explosions, I love explosions, everybody loves explosions. Well…explosions where nobody gets hurt and nothing important gets blown up. Take some mortars into a field, drop a couple bombs on an empty prairie, play target practice with a barrel of TNT in the middle of a serene pasture. What’s the harm?

The harm is your old pal, contamination. How could you have forgotten about contamination, right? In hindsight, it’s obvious, considering that a TNT-based explosive usually leaves about 2 percent of the material uncombusted, and TNT can cause serious health problems in humans and animals. Getting the stuff out of the soil is a pain, and typically calls for a lot of money and a lot of backhoes. But scientists have figured out how to breed some weeds with a genetically enhanced means of sucking TNT out of the soil. This approach would be considerably cheaper, and require practically zero backhoes. Read more.