SEOUL, Jul. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — A research institution operating under the Ministry of Environment has patented a new microbial agent that can remove harmful chemical substances such as benzene, toluene, and phenol using microorganisms.
The toxic chemical removal agent developed by the Nakdonggang National Institute of Biological Resources uses an environment-friendly concoction consisting of three types of substances extracted from three different microorganisms, including Rhodococcus sp. 24, Microbacterium sp. 28, and Pseudomonas sp. GM1, converted into powder and bead particle form.
Findings from a study conducted by the research team at the Nakdonggang National Institute of Biological Resources show the agent proved effective in fresh water containing over 500 ppm of phenol.
The study also showed the bead particle type of the agent was able to get rid of 500 milligrams of phenol in one liter of water within six hours, which could be suitable for quick removals, while the powder type had the same effect in 24 hours, better suited for wider areas of contamination.
Unlike in the U.S., few research and development projects related to environmentally-friendly purification methods of toxic chemicals are conducted in South Korea.
“The Nakdonggang National Institute of Biological Resources will continue to develop microorganism-based technology, while conducting further research into the safety of the new microbial agent and looking at ways to conduct technology transfer,” said Ahn Young-hee, the head of the institute.