Earthworms: the future of nanotechnology?

argylesock says… I just have to reblog this story! Gardening meets lab science. It’s not commercially viable yet but I hope that in due course, it will be.

Wellcome Trust Blog

Very Large Earthworm (Amynthas aspergillum 參狀遠環蚓 or Amynthas robustus 壯偉遠環蚓?)Earthworms are one of the world’s unsung heroes. They’re a gardener’s best friend, constantly burrowing through soil, keeping it loose and fertilised. However, they also have a role to play in scientific research. Nancy Wilkinson has been learning about a group of scientists who are using earthworms to synthesise electricity-conducting nanoparticles.

 

Earthworms digest soil as they burrow through it, filtering out unwanted particles such as heavy metals in their gut. Large amounts of these metals collect in liver-like cells surrounding the worm’s gut before they are excreted. The worms can store up to about 200 times more of some heavy metals – as a proportion of their body weight – than would usually be found in humans. They can amass up to one thousandth of their body weight of cadmium, for example. Researchers  based at King’s College London, with support from the Wellcome Trust EPSRC Centre of Excellence in Medical…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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