Bioremediation is the use of living organisms to break down or remove chemical pollutants. These chemicals are often organic molecules, like latex paint and petroleum, or heavy metals such as mercury. Examples of bioremediation would include using special bacteria to decompose toxic chemicals at an oil spill, or using lupine plants to absorb the chemicals at a superfund site. In the first case the chemicals are broken down into harmless molecules through the metabolism of the bacteria. In the second, the chemicals are absorbed and accumulated in the plant tissues. To decontaminate the area, the plants are removed. This is much easier and more efficient than trying to remove the contamination with machines.
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