Superfund Research Program

May 2024

Paper of the Month or Year

Researchers at the University of Iowa Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center used biochar – a carbon-rich byproduct of burning plant-matter – and bacteria to clean up polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in aquatic environments. PCBs are a group of harmful chemicals that persist in sediments.

The team found that combining biochar made from corn kernels with PCB-degrading bacteria increased bacterial growth and the expression of genes involved in PCB degradation. According to the authors, this strategy may provide a cost-effective alternative to current PCB treatment methods, which are expensive and can result in water contamination.

Read more in the NIEHS Environmental Factor Newsletter.