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April 15th, 2011

Study: Nanotech destroys soil

Abstract:
Nanotechnology is a booming business, with new uses found almost everyday. Use of silver nanoparticles is especially widespread, because the tiny particles bring antibacterial properties to surgical tools, water treatment, wound dressings, and so forth. They're also used in batteries — another fast-moving area of innovation.

Concerns about nanotechnology's impact on the environment — specifically water and soil — have begun to percolate, however. So when researchers at Canada's Queen's University obtained a chunk of Arctic soil to study as part of the International Polar Year, they decided to experiment on the pristine soil sample it offered. They identified in the sample a common beneficial microbe that helps plants "fix" nitrogen. Plants can't do so on their own, but the nitrogen cycle nearly as important as the carbon cycle for maintaining life on Earth.

Source:
sfgate.com

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