Computer-designed molecule v. evil fluorocarbons
Actually, we really love our fluorocarbons when they're in a captive state. They help refrigeration systems keep our caviar chilled. They're used in pesticides and to reduce friction. We all know there's way too much of that around.
The problem: fluorine and carbon atoms bond very tightly at sea level. When fluorocarbons escape, they start unhelpful things: destroying ozone in the outer atmosphere and allowing more radiation to reach us Earthlings.
Now, a federal research project has a computer-designed molecule that could pull out that fluoride ion from the fluorocarbon molecule. This theoretical molecule was designed around an actual enzyme used by a South African bacterium. In the genus Burkholderia, these bacteria naturally pull fluoride ions out of sodium fluoroacetate.
This potentially potent artificial molecule will be synthesized at the University of Texas. And then they'll turn it loose on some loose fluorocarbons. Stay tuned for round one.