U.S. Army is looking for a few good biobased, seed-conveying bullets

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In the United States, the Department of Defense is looking for partners to develop biodegradable training ammunition that doubles as a seed for environmentally beneficial plants.

The goal is to help mitigate previous pollution from spent training rounds, which the army uses hundreds of thousands of annually at numerous sites. Corrosion from these spent materials can damage the environment and pollute waterways.

DOD is looking for applications under the federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research program. The deadline is February 8.

The Army has already begun exploring ways to remediate the environmental damage done at its firing ranges. Previous efforts include using bamboo fiber in biodegradable bullets, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory has developed engineered, pollution-mitigating seeds that could be embedded in such bullets.

Further details on the seeds were not disclosed, although the Army has said germination wouldn’t occur until months after the round has been fired. The seeds will also be safe for animals to eat.