Science: Industrial Microbes

The enslavement and death of countless millions of workers may result from a newly discovered method of producing glycerine (currently produced as a byproduct of soap manufacture). Whether the process reported by Canada's National Research Council in Ottawa will be adopted commercially depends largely on the efficiency of the workers' digestive apparatus. In any case, no one will protest their exploitation. The workers are microscopic members of the clan Bacillus subtilis.

The use of microbes as minuscule chemical factories has been practiced, if not understood, since the first butter was churned, the first wine pressed, the first beer brewed. Spurred by advances...

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