Water Remediation ‘Robots' Feast On Over 400 Wastewater Contaminants, Then Self-Destruct


Meet the BactoBots, the secret agents of wastewater treatment. These water remediation “robots” can destroy multiple enemies at once, survive extreme conditions, and self-destruct if things go wrong. 

“These bots have proven to be little piranhas. They really just go in there and eat up everything that is available,” says Cody Harrison, the director of field engineering at Pilus Energy, a subsidiary of Bacterial Robotics, the company that created the BactoBots. “They can operate in anything from 5 to 50 degrees Celsius, are resistant to heavy metal poisoning, can withstand wide swings in pH, and are able to not only survive in the presence of other bacteria, but thrive.” 

These BactoBots are genetically enhanced microorganisms, created using synthetic biology. They work like machines and are programed to perform specific tasks.

There are currently two types of BactoBots designed for use in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities. The first, RemediBots, are added directly to wastewater, where they can quickly metabolize over 400 organic contaminants, including pathogenic bacteria.

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