Yellowstone Alga Detoxifies Arsenic
Arsenic may be tough, but scientists have found a Yellowstone National Park alga that's tougher.
The alga - a simple one-celled algae called Cyanidioschyzon - thrives in extremely toxic conditions and chemically modifies arsenic that occurs naturally around hot springs, said Tim McDermott, professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University.
Cyanidioschyzon could someday help reclaim arsenic-laden mine waste and aid in everything from space exploration to creating safer foods and herbicides, the scientists said.
The alga and how it detoxifies arsenic are described in a paper that's posted this week (week of March 9) in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS. Lead authors are McDermott and Barry Rosen, of Florida International University. Among the four co-authors is Corinne Lehr, who formerly worked with McDermott as a postdoctoral scientist at MSU and is now a faculty member at California Polytechnic State University.