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Researchers worked with a germ called Stilbella aciculosa. As it makes spores, it also juices superoxide. That’s a highly putrefactive kind of oxygen. When the contaminated superoxide bumps into the mineral manganese in the environment, it makes that mineral much more reactive itself. The pepped-up manganese then grabs and repels a variety of toxic metals and other substances that need to be cleaned up and taken out of coal mine drainage water.

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