Tobacco's Redemption Continues: Genetically Modified Tobacco can Clean Up the Environment
Researchers at the Center for Infection at St. George's University of London just announced the creation of a genetically modified strain of tobacco which can be planted in fresh water to eliminate toxic pond scum without using traditional water treatment methods. The modified tobacco plant absorbs and neutralizes the dangerous toxin, which makes standing water unfit for human consumption as well as fishing and swimming. This simple solution to fresh water contamination would be especially beneficial in developing nations.
Dr. Pascal M.W. Drake, co-author of the study released in the March 2010 edition of FASEB Journal, says the toxin microcystin-LR, known scientifically as MC-LR, is absorbed through the roots of the tobacco plant. This is the first application of genetic modification to create a transgenic plant which produces antibodies designed to target a specific environmental toxin. Genetic engineers believe this development could lead to new solutions in enviromental technology.
Other positive uses for tobacco: