Physical Sciences

New Grasses Neutralize Toxic Pollution From Bombs and Munitions

UW engineers have developed transgenic grass species that can eliminate RDX, a toxic compound widely used in explosives that contaminates military bases, battlegrounds and some drinking water wells. (Photo: Dennis Wise/ University of Washington)

On military live fire training ranges, troops practice firing artillery shells, drop bombs on old tanks or derelict buildings and test the capacity of new weapons. But those explosives and munitions leave behind toxic compounds that have contaminated millions of acres of U.S. military bases — with an estimated cleanup bill ranging between $16 billion and $165 billion. However, University of Washington and University of York researchers recently described new transgenic grass species that can neutralize and eradicate RDX — a toxic compound that has been widely used in explosives since World War II.

Posted in: News, Defense, Environmental Monitoring, Recycling Technologies, Physical Sciences
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