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Genetically modified bacteria could be used in air filters to extract pesticide vapors from polluted air thanks to work by researchers in China published this month in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution.

The bacteria Escherichia coli is perhaps best known as a bacterium that can cause food poisoning and in one form, the O157:H7, can damage the kidneys and even be lethal. However, E coli, is commonly used in biological research as a model organism for a wide range of beneficial experiments. Now, researchers in China have discovered that a genetically modified form of the bacteria can be used in a biofilter to extract the toxic pesticides, parathion and methyl parathion from the air.

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