Chorover says the next step in the research program will focus on what happens during quinoline's interactions with microorganisms. He notes that preliminary data suggests that "enrichment cultures" may be used to inoculate the soil and break down the pollutant.
"Understanding the binding of pollutants to mineral and organic constituents is key to developing our capability to decontaminate soils. One of the main goals of our research is to see whether strongly bound pollutants can still be broken down in the soil or whether they are inaccessible to microorganisms," he adds.
The research was supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research Joint Bioremediation Program.