Bioremediation Outline

Biotechnology is a scientific field that finds uses of microorganisms for agricultural, medical, industrial and technological purposes. The field of biotechnology growing at an exponential rate and branches off into several categories. B. Bioremediation is a subcategory of biotechnology that involves microorganisms and the environment. Although bioremediation is primarily established my man, it is a fairly natural process using microbes that occur naturally in nature to clean up any unwanted contaminants.C. Thesis- Bioremediation is a wonderful advancement in the scientific world in many ways as it uses a variety of organisms, treats several circumstances and helps the natural environment. II. The History of Bioremediation D. Types of bioremediation have been around since ancient times recording back to around 600. B. C. when Romans build sewage systems to regulate and decontaminate wastewater (BICnews). i. Smaller types of bioremediation have also been used for quite some time such as composting. E.Bioremediation did not become a well thought of science until about forty years ago when it had been given a new approach; to treat containments such as sludge from refineries. F. Although degrading hydrocarbons from soil had been slightly practiced since the early 1900s, with the increasing publicity of bioremediation, the practice became more widely used. From here bioremediation took a giant leap as its many uses became more apparent. ii. Microorganisms could be used to treat a wide variety of medium from soil to groundwater and the ocean, bioremediation was beginning to emerge G.Around the beginning of 1980, bioremediation became widely commercialized and more prominently known. H. It was not until 1989 that the public would get a mouthful of bioremediation news from the media in response to its use on contaminated shorelines due to Exxon Valdez oil spills (BICnews). III. How Bioremediation Works I. First the contaminated site is evaluated by a specific set of scientists that are able to tell what the contaminant is, how to treat it, and what would be needed to be done in order to begin the treatment. J.Organisms are then evaluated on their specific properties and characteristics in order to find the right one that would be best suited for the cleanup. K. The chosen subjects are then tested for their performance level in the system and how safe they are to release into the specific area. L. One of the remediation processes are then begun whether microbes are added into the environment, a plant or fungus is incorporated, or nutrients and simple environmental factors are temporarily converted in order for specific bacteria colonies to thrive. M.The bacteria then thrive and grow exponentially to colonize the surrounding area of contamination. The bacteria digest the substances and convert them into natural elements, enzymes, proteins, etc. Typically the primary products are water and carbon dioxide. N. Once the pollutants have been completely cleaned up, or cleaned to a level in which nature can successfully take over, the bacteria colonies then begin to die out as they have exhausted their space and nutrients. No further steps or precautions are necessary as bioremediation is a fairly natural process. O.In some instances genetically modified organisms are brought into the system; however they act just as natural organisms would. Primarily modified organisms are naturally born bacteria in which a specific gene has been inserted in order for them to grow in specific environments, protect themselves from specific dangers or even to help them convert substances in which their species normally could not. IV. Types of Bioremediation P. The two primary categories of bioremediation in which the other methods can be subcategorized are in-situ and ex-situ remediation. iii. In-situ Bioremediation treats the contaminated soil or groundwater in the location in which it is found. In this technology oxygen and occasionally nutrients are pumped under pressure into the soil through wells. The nutrients are spread on the surface to infiltrate into the contaminated area of material or the saturated zone”(Types) iv. “Ex-situ Bioremediation requires pumping of the groundwater or excavation of contaminated soil prior to remediation treatments. Ex-situ Bioremediation can be further broken down into two main components or processes; Slurry-phase and solid-phase treatment” (Types). . The slurry phase combines the contaminated material and water. Later a bioreactor or organism is introduced to begin the breakdown of the contaminants. vi. The solid-phase the contaminated substance is given nutrients, minerals, oxygen, or whatever it would need in order for a bacteria colony to appear and colonize. Q. Biostimulation vii. Many of the microbes found naturally in soil and water metabolize naturally occurring substances into carbon and a utilizable energy source. Along with this, and their high reproductive rates make microorganisms a wonderful candidate to clean up contaminated sites.However, microorganisms are highly specific and will usually only grow under optimum conditions. Sometimes the site of contamination has the necessary microbes present, but the environment is not the right temperature, P. h. or perhaps does not have the right nutrients or oxygen levels in order for them to grow at a high enough rates in order to clean up the pollutant. Some of the time this feat can be overcome with the use of biostimulation, or more specifically, the process of temporarily changing the environment in order for the microbes to grow optimally.R. Bioaugmentation viii. One of the most widely used bioremediation is bioagumentation which is basically the process of placing microbes which do not occur naturally to the contaminated site, but are naturally occurring in nature and have been tested to work in the specific environment. These microbes are then manually placed into the polluted site and begin to colonize. Scientists then monitor them to make sure they are getting sufficient nutrients and what they need in order to grow at an optimum rate.Once the contaminated site is cleared, the microbes have peaked in their colonization process and will soon run out of their energy source and die off naturally. S. Phytoremediation ix. Phytoremediation (from the Greek root word ‘phyto’ meaning ‘plant’) is the process of using plants to clean up metal contamination in water and soil. Phytoremediation is an important process because it reduces hazardous byproducts and protects the environments essential topsoil which is the nutrient enriched ground on the top of the earth.Topsoil is extremely important to preserve because it is nutrient enriched in which many plants depend on which takes thousands of years to produce just square inches. x. Photoextraction 1. Photoextraction is a process in which certain plants, that specifically extract metals from the soil, are used to concentrate metals from the soil by harvesting them from the roots and moving the metals up to their stems for degradation. Scientists evaluate which plants have the most biomass production, simple cultivation, genetic characterization, etc. nd transport them to the site for contaminate clean-up. This process is actually extremely efficient, quick, easy and costless and is becoming more widely used. xi. Rhizodegradation 2. Several species of plants have a type of root system in which extensions of the plants body are found underground. These roots anchor the plant but also absorb essential nutrients and minerals for the plant to survive. How do the roots extract and convert the soil to nutrients it can use?One major way that roots obtain essential nutrient from the ground, such as nitrogen, is with the help of microorganisms. Bacteria thriving on and near root nodules, such as those from the species Rhizobium, form mutualistic relationships with the plant roots. Here the plant houses the bacteria and the bacteria perform nitrogen fixation, in turn feeding the plant. This natural process is the basis of bioremediation process Rhizodegradation. This process is preformed at the root level where the natural bacteria thrive.There are several areas in which vegetation is scarce, and these places are where a majority of contaminants occur. By adding plants to the soil, the bacteria populations are able to grow at exponential rates because the plants add a specific habitat the bacteria needs to thrive, and conversely, the plants begin to thrive because they cannot grow to their full capacity without the bacteria. The bacteria can now thrive with a proper habitat and break down the contaminants to smaller useable elements, proteins, and enzymes. V.Pros and Cons of Bioremediation T. Pros of bioremediation xii. Bioremediation uses organisms that occur naturally in nature in order to clean up pollutants and degrade them into smaller-less harmful compounds. Thus nothing is being put into the environment that is not there already and containments are broken down into substances the earth can harvest and utilize, or break down further. xiii. Once the pollutant is reduced, the organisms naturally die off as they have reached their longevity and exploited their food supply.No further precautions need to be made to clean up the organisms. xiv. Reduces liability of the treatment and disposal of contaminated material because harmful products are converted into harmless byproducts; no risk factors are involved for the employees, civilians, or surrounding environment. xv. Once the process is complete the containment is destroyed; it does not need to be transported or run though another process unlike popular accepted “decontaminating” processes today xvi.Bioremediation can be performed at the direct location of contamination and does not need to be moved to a ‘safer’ area or an isolated area in order to prevent possible liabilities and can be a lot more affordable and simple than currently used processes (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) U. Cons of bioremediation xvii. Bioremediation is limited to compounds and containments that can be broken down naturally and by organisms; which in some cases they cannot. xviii. The organisms used are extremely specific and require optimum temperature, P. h. , food sources, salt, etc.If the organisms do not get what they require they will not be able to perform their metabolic functions, or worse, may not be able to survive. 3. This also means that the research for bioremediation is still ongoing and many organisms have not been discovered yet, have not been found to take care of their certain potentials, or even have been tested for their specific functions yet. 4. Unfortunately research funding is limited which further delays discoveries and advancements in the biotechnology field.

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