Not By Trees Alone: It Takes An Underground Ecosystem To Clean Polluted Sites

Using advanced techniques for analyzing the simultaneous expression of genes from multiple organisms in an ecosystem, the scientists examined the roots of willows grown on a polluted site in suburban Montreal. They found that complex interactions among a range of ectomycorrhizal fungi — which form symbiotic sheaths around the roots of plants — and certain bacteria appeared to drive the degradation of hydrocarbons in the ground. (Click on title for full story.)