The Brazilian study showed that the diesel plant, considered a sustainable fuel and emit fewer pollutants and gases from renewable sources, may cause genetic mutations in some organisms in the event of accidental spills.
The study of the biologist Daniela Morais Leme, a researcher at the Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), identified potential environmental impacts in a fuel developed precisely to reduce the impact of fossil fuels.
According to Morais Leme, despite the known benefits of this green fuel, biodiesel spills in the soil or water can cause mutations in living organisms.
Biodiesel produced from oilseed plants such as soybeans, castor and sunflower, mixed in Brazil to mineral diesel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of this fuel.
Tests conducted by the researcher from Unesp demonstrated that a green diesel spillage can damage the DNA of living organisms.
The study identified different rates of mutation caused by fuel cells in culture of organizations such as onions and salmonella bacteria.
The experiments were conducted with diesel derived from soybean, one of the raw materials used in Brazil to produce fuel for its low cost, high availability and high efficiency.
“This biodiesel was mutagenic in all the tests we did,” said the researcher.
Although Morais Leme acknowledges that the results have yet to be confirmed by further experiments, he notes that the mutations can be caused by some specific compounds in soybeans.
“Soybeans have phytoestrogens that are considered emerging contaminants that may cause mutations and are not eliminated in biodiesel production,” he said.
According to the research, preliminary results indicate that the selection of raw material to manufacture the diesel plant has to take into account not only criteria of availability and performance but also environmental impact. “We must be cautious in dealing with the biodiesel fuel as an environmentally safe,” he said.
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