Environment: Oil-Eating Bug

Of all industrial accidents, few are messier than oil spills. Floating booms can contain surface oil and keep it from spreading while it is picked up and recovered by giant vacuum cleaners. Straw filters can be used to pick up oil that makes its way into shallow waters. But scientists have been trying for years to develop more effective methods of dealing with spills. Now one team seems to have succeeded. General Electric announced last week that scientists at its Schenectady, N.Y., laboratories have created a microbe that can eat petroleum in quantity.

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