Authored by: Ragini Gothalwal

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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Bioremediation is a key area of white biotechnology because the elimination of a wide range of pollutants from water and soil is an absolute requirement for sustainable development. Bioremediation makes a significant contribution in remediation efforts and in decontamination of industrial effluents where conventional physico-chemical treatment methods may be neither adequate nor feasible. The different types of bioremediation include bacterial remediation, mycoremediation, rhizoremediation, phycoremediation, and phytoremediation. Phytoremediation techniques use “hyperaccumulator plants,” which store 10–500 pollutants in their leaves and stem which are thereafter harvested and incinerated, and metals recovered from ashes can be reused in metallurgy. Biodegradation of chemical warfare agents is carried out using the organophosphorus-insecticide-hydrolyzing enzyme, organophosphate hydrolase. Heap soil washing technology using leaching microbes is receiving much attention these days for the remediation of large volumes of heavy metals and radioactive elements in contaminated soil. Successful bioremediation requires not only the knowledge of which microorganism degrades a particular compound but also an understanding of the pathways involved in degradation both at the physiological and molecular levels. The exploration and exploitation of the untrapped genetic diversity in the field of bioremediation is in its infancy and needs a lot more investigation. Furthermore, systematic efforts are required to determine the effects of bioremediation and phytoremediation on the food chain and natural recycling, as well as for making the process safer, economical, and ecofriendly.

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