Stories like this one make me shiver in anticipation of all the cool restoration methods to come.

A student at Michigan Tech designed an experiment to remove antibiotics excreted into water.

[Stephanie] Smith grew vetiver hydroponically in a greenhouse, exposing the plants to various concentrations of tetracycline and monensin, two antibiotics commonly used to treat dairy cattle. “We wanted to see if the vetiver would uptake them, because if you give these antibiotics to cows, 70 percent is excreted in active form,” Smith says. “We worry about them leaching into the groundwater, getting into drinking water and compounding the problem of antibiotic resistance.”

At the end of the 12-week study, all of the tetracycline and 95.5 percent of the monensin had disappeared from the hydroponic solution.

I don’t see any reason this method couldn’t work for antibiotics excreted by people.

How is this restoration?

I see it as a tool that can be used to enhance a restoration project. For example, if you’re restoring a stream that runs through an urban or a suburban area, vetiver could be planted in several locations to help purify the water.

Source: “Grass Used to Remove Antibiotics from Wastewater,” by Michigan Tech, Water and Wastewater, April 1r, 2010, via Homemade Wilderness

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