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Web Date: April 20, 2016

Bacteria separate rare earths

Materials scientists tap microbes to split up rare-earth elements
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Analytical SCENE, Biological SCENE, Environmental SCENE, Materials SCENE
Keywords: green chemistry, materials, sustainability, rare-earth elements, lanthanides, extraction, separation

A bacterial culture can do the work of separating rare-earth elements, or lanthanides, used widely in advanced batteries and magnets (Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00064). The newly developed method is an initial step in efforts to create alternatives to the time-consuming and less-than-green solvent extractions now used in industry.

Rare-earth elements have their dance cards full these days. Kilograms of lanthanum go into every hybrid car battery, and . . .

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