Home » Environmental Microbiology » Bioremediation- Objective, Principle, Categories, Types, Methods, Applications
by Sagar Aryal
- Bioremediation refers to the use of either naturally occurring or deliberately introduced microorganisms to consume and break down environmental pollutants, in order to clean a polluted site.
- It is a process that uses mainly microorganisms but also plants, or microbial or plant enzymes to detoxify contaminants in the soil and other environments.
- The concept includes biodegradation, which refers to the partial and sometimes total, transformation or detoxification of contaminants by microorganisms and plants.
- The process ofbioremediationenhances the rate of the natural microbial degradation of contaminants by supplementing the indigenous microorganisms (bacteria or fungi) with nutrients, carbon sources, or electron donors (biostimulation, biorestoration) or by adding an enriched culture of microorganisms that have specific characteristics that allow them to degrade the desired contaminant at a quicker rate (bioaugmentation).
Table of Contents
Objective of Bioremediation
- The goal ofbioremediationis to at least reduce pollutant levels to undetectable, nontoxic, or acceptable levels, that is, to within limits set by regulatory agencies or, ideally, to completely mineralize organopollutants to carbon dioxide.
Principle of Bioremediation
- Bioremediation relies on stimulating the growth of certain microbes that use contaminants like oil, solvents, and pesticides as a source of food and energy.
- These microbes consume the contaminants, converting them into small amounts of water and harmless gases like carbon dioxide.
- Effective bioremediation needs a combination of the right temperature, nutrients, and food; otherwise, it may take much longer for the cleanup of contaminants.
- If conditions are not favorable for bioremediation, they can be improved by adding “amendments” to the environment, such as molasses, vegetable oil or simply air.
- These amendments create optimum conditions for microbes to flourish and complete the bioremediation process.
- The process of bioremediation can take anywhere from a few months to several years.
- The amount of time required depends on variables such as the size of the contaminated area, the concentration of contaminants, conditions such as temperature and soil density, and whether bioremediation will take place in situ or ex-situ.
Categories of Bioremediation
Biological remediation can be categorized into two types: microbial remediation and phytoremediation.
- Micro-organisms are well known for their ability to break down a huge range of organic compounds and absorb inorganic substances. Currently, microbes are used to clean up pollution treatment in processes known as bioremediation.
- Different microbial systems like bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and actinomycetes can be used for removal of toxic and other contaminants from the environment.
- Microorganisms are readily available, rapidly characterized, highly diverse, omnipresent, and can use many noxious elements as their nutrient source.
- They can be applied in bothin situandex-situconditions; in addition, many extreme environmental conditions can be cleaned by such entities.
- Althoughmany microorganisms are capable of degrading crude oil present in soil, it has been found beneficial to employ a mix culture approach than the pure cultures inbioremediationas it shows the synergistic interactions.
- Different bacteria can be used for the removal of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminants from soil.
- The bacteria that can degrade major pollutants includePseudomonas,Aeromonas,Moraxella,Beijerinckia,Flavobacteria,chrobacteria,Nocardia,Corynebacteria,Acinetobacter,Mycobactena,Modococci,Streptomyces,Bacili, Arthrobacter, Aeromonas, and Cyanobacteria.
- Phytoremediation is abioremediationprocess that uses various types of plants to remove, transfer, stabilize, and/or destroycontaminantsin the soil andgroundwater.
- There are several different types ofphytoremediationmechanisms.
- Rhizosphere biodegradation. In this process, the plantreleasesnatural substances through its roots, supplying nutrients to microorganisms in the soil. The microorganisms enhance biological degradation.
- Phyto-stabilization.In this process, chemical compounds produced by the plant immobilize contaminants, rather than degrade them.
- Phyto-accumulation (also called phytoextraction).In this process, plant rootsabsorbthecontaminantsalong with other nutrients and water. The contaminant mass is not destroyed but ends up in the plant shoots and leaves. This method is used primarily for wastes containing metals.
- Hydroponic Systems for Treating Water Streams (Rhizofiltration). Rhizofiltration is similar to phytoaccumulation, but the plants used for cleanup are raised in greenhouses with their roots in water. This method of growing can be used for ex-situ groundwater treatment. That is, groundwater is pumped to the surface to irrigate these plants. Typically hydroponic systems utilize an artificial soil medium, such as sand mixed with perlite or vermiculite. As the roots become saturated with contaminants, they are harvested and disposed of.
- Phyto-volatilization.In this process, plants take up water containingorganiccontaminants andreleasethe contaminants into the air through their leaves.
- Phyto-degradation.In this process, plants actually metabolize and destroy contaminants within plant tissues.
- Hydraulic Control. In this process, trees indirectly remediate by controlling the groundwater movement. Trees act as natural pumps when their roots reach down towards the water table and establish a dense root mass that takes up large quantities of water. A poplar tree, for example, pulls out of the ground 30 gallons of water per day, and cottonwood can absorb up to 350 gallons per day.
Types of Bioremediation Methods
- Natural attenuation or intrinsicbioremediation: Bioremediationoccurs on its own without adding anything.
- Biostimulation: Bioremediation is spurred on via the addition of fertilizers to increase the bioavailability within the medium.
Technologies can be generally classified asin situorex-situ.
- In situbioremediation: Itinvolves treating the contaminated material at the site.
- Ex situbioremediation: It involves the removal of the contaminated material to be treated elsewhere.
Methods of Bioremediation
Some examples ofbioremediation-related technologies are:
Applications of Bioremediation
- Bioremediation is used for the remediation of metals,radionuclides,pesticides, explosives, fuels,volatileorganiccompounds(VOCs)andsemi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs).
- Research is underway to understand the role of phytoremediation to remediate perchlorate, a contaminant that has been shown to be persistent in surface and groundwater systems.
- It may be used toclean upcontaminants found in soil and groundwater.
- For radioactive substances, chelating agents are sometimes used to make the contaminants amenable to plant uptake.
- Microorganisms found in soil with effects and examples
- Soil- Definition, Composition, Properties, Types and Uses
- Bacteria- Definition, Structure, Shapes, Sizes, Classification
- Plant Cell- Definition, Structure, Parts, Functions, Labeled Diagram
- Rhizospheric microorganisms and effects, PGPR and Mycorrhiza
Advantages of Bioremediation
Bioremediation has a number of advantages over other cleanup methods.
- As it only uses natural processes, it is a relatively green method that causes less damage to ecosystems.
- It often takes place underground, as amendments and microbes can be pumped underground to clean up contaminants in groundwater and soil; therefore, it does not cause much disruption to nearby communities.
- The process of bioremediation creates few harmful byproducts since contaminants and pollutants are converted into water and harmless gases like carbon dioxide.
- Bioremediations is cheaper than most cleanup methods, as it does not require a great deal of equipment or labor.
- Bioremediation can be tailored to the needs of the polluted site in question and the specific microbes needed to break down the pollutant are encouraged by selecting the limiting factor needed to promote their growth.
Limitations and Concerns of Bioremediation
- Thetoxicityand bioavailability ofbiodegradationproducts are not always known.
- Degradation by-products may be mobilized in groundwater or bio-accumulated in animals.
- Additional research is needed to determine the fate of various compounds in the plant metabolic cycle to ensure that plant droppings and products do not contribute to toxic or harmful chemicals into the food chain.
- Scientists need to establish whether contaminants that collect in the leaves and wood of trees are released when the leaves fall in the autumn or when firewood or mulch from the trees is used.
- Disposal of harvested plants can be a problem if they contain high levels of heavy metals.
- The depth of the contaminants limits treatment. In most cases, it is limited to shallow soils, streams, and groundwater.
- Generally, the use of phytoremediation is limited to sites with lower contaminant concentrations and contamination in shallow soils, streams, and groundwater.
- The success of phytoremediation may be seasonal, depending on location. Other climatic factors will also influence its effectiveness.
- The success of remediation depends on establishing a selected plant community. Introducing new plant species can have widespread ecological ramifications. It should be studied beforehand and monitored
- If contaminant concentrations are too high, plants may die.
- Some phytoremediation transfers contamination across media, (e.g., from soil to air).
- Phytoremediation is not effective for strongly sorbed contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
- Phytoremediation requires a large surface area of land for remediation.
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What is the objective of bioremediation? ›
The goal in bioremediation is to stimulate microorganisms with nutrients and other chemicals that will enable them to destroy the contaminants.What are the applications of bioremediation? ›
- Soils, sediment, and sludge as solids.
- Groundwater, surface water, and industrial wastewater as liquids.
- Industrial air emissions as gases.
- Saturated and vadose zones as sub-surface environments.
Bioremediation is a biotechnical process, which abates or cleans up contamination. It is a type of waste management technique which involves the use of organisms to remove or utilize the pollutants from a polluted area.What are the basic principles of bioremediation? ›
The basic principle of bioremediation is hydrolysis of higher molecule contaminants into small and soluble entities which may undergo in the aerobic on anaerobic pathways.What is bioremediation? ›
Bioremediation is a process that uses mainly microorganisms, plants, or microbial or plant enzymes to detoxify contaminants in the soil and other environments.What is bioremediation and its applications in microbiology? ›
Bioremediation uses micro-organisms to reduce pollution through the biological degradation of pollutants into non-toxic substances. This can involve either aerobic or anaerobic micro-organisms that often use this breakdown as an energy source.Why is bioremediation important? ›
Bioremediation helps clean up water sources, create healthier soil, and improve air quality around the globe. But unlike excavation-based remediation processes, which can be disruptive, bioremediation is less intrusive and can facilitate remediation of environmental impacts without damaging delicate ecosystems.What is bioremediation PDF? ›
Bioremediation is the use of. living microorganisms to degrade environmental pollutants or to prevent pollution. In other words, it is a technology for removing pollutants from the environment thus. restoring the original natural surroundings and preventing further pollution.What is the example of bioremediation? ›
Some examples of bioremediation related technologies are phytoremediation, bioventing, bioattenuation, biosparging, composting (biopiles and windrows), and landfarming. Other remediation techniques include thermal desorption, vitrification, air stripping, bioleaching, rhizofiltration, and soil washing.Who invented bioremediation? ›
Modern bioremediation was developed by petroleum engineer, George M. Robinson in the 1960s. He performed experiments with microbes placed in glass jars that contained pollutants. He tried adding different types of bacteria to the jars and realized that certain types worked to break the pollutant down.
What are the types of biodegradation? ›
There are four biodegradation environments for polymers and plastic products: soil, aquatic, landfill and compost. Each environment contains different microorganisms and has different conditions for degradation. In soil, fungi are mostly responsible for the degradation of organic matter including polymers.What are the types of pollution? ›
The three major types of pollution are air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution.What is bioremediation PPT? ›
Bioremediation is the a biological degrading processes for the treatment of contaminated soils, groundwater and/or sediments, relying on microorganisms including bacteria and/or fungi to use the contaminant(s) as a food source with resulting degradation of the contaminant.What is in situ in bioremediation? ›
In Situ Bioremediation (ISB) is the biological treatment of contaminants in the subsurface, typically in groundwater. ISB melds an understanding of microbiology, chemistry, hydrogeology, and engineering into a cohesive strategy for planned and controlled microbial degradation of specific classes of organic.What are the factors that affect bioremediation? ›
Bioremediation process is also greatly affected by the characteristics of the contaminated site. Parameters such as soil texture, permeability, pH, water holding capacity, soil temperature, nutrient, and oxygen content affect bioremediation process.How effective is bioremediation? ›
Although, bioremediation can be effective, due to its slow recovery time, it is not always considered. Bioremediation is not only economical, but it is an effective technique for sensitive shorelines, due to being nonaggressive to the shoreline habitat (Boufadel et al., 2011, 2016).What are the three types of bioremediation? ›
Some of the most common types of bioremediation are microbial bioremediation, phytoremediation, and mycoremediation.What is the process of biodegradation? ›
Biodegradation is defined as the biologically catalyzed reduction in complexity of chemical compounds . Indeed, biodegradation is the process by which organic substances are broken down into smaller compounds by living microbial organisms . When biodegradation is complete, the process is called "mineralization".What is bioremediation of water? ›
In simple terms, bioremediation is a system of sewage treatment where microbes are used to degrade flowing sewage into carbon dioxide and water. The process also reduces the stench from raw sewage.What is the other term for bioremediation? ›
In this page you can discover 7 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for bioremediation, like: biodegradation, bioprocesses, phytoremediation, remediation, bio-remediation, electrokinetic and stabilisation-solidification.
What is bioremediation of soil? ›
Bioremediation is defined as use of biological processes to degrade, break down, transform, and/or essentially remove contaminants or impairments of quality from soil and water.How safe is bioremediation? ›
Is bioremediation safe? Bioremediation is very safe because it uses the same microbes that already naturally occur in soil or water. This process simply adds more of these organisms to those already present. No dangerous chemicals are used in the process and harmful contaminants are completely destroyed.What are 2 positives for bioremediation? ›
There are several advantages of using bioremediation processes compared with other remediation technologies: (1) biologically-based remediation detoxifies hazardous substances instead of merely transferring contaminants from one environmental medium to another; (2) bioremediation is generally less disruptive to the ...What is bioremediation introduction? ›
Bioremediation is the use of living microorganisms to degrade environmental pollutants or to prevent pollution. In other words, it is a technology for removing pollutants from the environment thus restoring the original natural surroundings and preventing further pollution (Sasikumar and Papinazath 2003).What are the role of microorganisms? ›
Microorganisms are useful in producing foods, treating waste water, creating biofuels and a wide range of chemicals and enzymes. They are invaluable in research as model organisms. They have been weaponised and sometimes used in warfare and bioterrorism.What is in situ and ex situ bioremediation? ›
Ex situ remediation techniques involve removing the soil from the subsurface to treat it. In situ remediation techniques involve leaving the soil in its original place and bringing the biological mechanisms to the soil.What are bioremediation agents? ›
Particular agents used for bioremediation are bacteria, fungi, and algae. Bacterially-mediated processes have been used to alleviate heavy metal toxicity. Endophytic bacteria have greater potential to tolerate and remediate heavy metals stress.What are the advantages and disadvantages of bioremediation? ›
Advantages and Disadvantage of Bioremediation
Bioremediation is an eco-friendly and sustainable approach that can destroy a pollutant or convert harmful contaminants into harmless substances. The main disadvantage of bioremediation technology is that it is restricted to biodegradable compounds.
Bioremediation is a process where microorganisms are used to break down pollutants, effectively cleaning up the contaminated site. These microbes can be specifically designed to remove pollutants without affecting other aspects of a water system like its drinkability or local wildlife.Is bioremediation harmful to the environment? ›
Unlike physical and chemical methods of cleanup, bioremediation does not disrupt the site's natural habitat. Furthermore, since natural organisms degrade contaminants into simple compounds that pose little or no threat to the environment, polluted soil and groundwater can be treated on site, or in situ.
What is biostimulation simple? ›
Biostimulation refers to the addition of rate limiting nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, oxygen, electron donors to severely polluted sites to stimulate the existing bacteria to degrade the hazardous and toxic contaminants.What is an example of Bioaugmentation? ›
Biofiltration systems are commonly used for eliminating contaminants found in the soil or groundwater. Some examples of biofilters include treatment ponds, slow sand filters, and bioswales.Why bioremediation is a triple corner process? ›
BIOREMEDIATION IS A TRIPLE-CORNERS PROCESS
Anaerobic or aerobic metabolism involve oxidation and reduction reactions or Redox reactions for detoxification. Oxygen could be reduced to water and oxidize organic compounds. Anaerobic reaction can use nitrate. In return, biomass is gained for bacterial or fungal growth.
Primary biodegradation means the structural change (transformation) of a surfactant by micro- organisms resulting in the loss of its surface-active properties due to the degradation of the parent substance and consequential loss of the surface-active property as measured by test methods listed in Annex II of the ...What material is biodegradable? ›
Examples of Biodegradable Materials
- Food waste.
- Human waste.
- Sewage sludge.
- Slaughterhouse waste.
- Dead animals and plants.
- Hospital Waste, etc.
Biodegradation is the process by which organic substances are decomposed by micro-organisms (mainly aerobic bacteria) into simpler substances such as carbon dioxide, water and ammonia. Source Publication: Glossary of Environment Statistics, Studies in Methods, Series F, No.What causes pollution? ›
Vehicle emissions, fuel oils and natural gas to heat homes, by-products of manufacturing and power generation, particularly coal-fueled power plants, and fumes from chemical production are the primary sources of human-made air pollution.What are the 7 main types of pollution? ›
Major forms of pollution include air pollution, light pollution, litter, noise pollution, plastic pollution, soil contamination, radioactive contamination, thermal pollution, visual pollution, and water pollution.What is solid phase bioremediation? ›
Solid-phase bioremediation is a process that treats soils in above-ground treatment areas equipped with collection systems to prevent any contaminant from escaping the treatment. Moisture, heat, nutrients, or oxygen are controlled to enhance biodegradation for the application of this treatment.What is the role of transgenic in bioremediation? ›
Transgenic plants can also mobilize or degrade chlorinated solvent, xenobiotic compounds, explosives and phenolic substances. A symbiotic relationship between genetic engineered microbes and transgenic plants can enhance the effectiveness of bioremediation of contaminated sites.
Is bioremediation and biodegradation same? ›
The main difference between biodegradation and bioremediation is that biodegradation is the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, whereas bioremediation is the use of microorganisms to breakdown environmental pollutants.Why bioremediation process is important for the environment? ›
Bioremediation helps clean up water sources, create healthier soil, and improve air quality around the globe. But unlike excavation-based remediation processes, which can be disruptive, bioremediation is less intrusive and can facilitate remediation of environmental impacts without damaging delicate ecosystems.What is the goal of bioremediation quizlet? ›
What is the goal of bioremediation? Clean up areas polluted with toxic compounds by using bacteria.What problem does bioremediation solve? ›
Bioremediation can help to reduce and remove the pollution we produce, to provide clean water, air and healthy soils for future generations.Why is bioremediation important to scientists? ›
With the exception of aromatic compounds, all hydrocarbons in crude oil can be degraded by bacteria. This makes bioremediation a very important method for cleaning up oil spills. In time, naturally occurring bacteria will completely break down a spill.Who invented bioremediation? ›
Modern bioremediation was developed by petroleum engineer, George M. Robinson in the 1960s. He performed experiments with microbes placed in glass jars that contained pollutants. He tried adding different types of bacteria to the jars and realized that certain types worked to break the pollutant down.What is the other term for bioremediation? ›
In this page you can discover 7 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for bioremediation, like: biodegradation, bioprocesses, phytoremediation, remediation, bio-remediation, electrokinetic and stabilisation-solidification.
- Crime scene cleanup. Bioremediation in this sense involves the cleanup of blood and bodily fluids that can pose health risks such as hepatitis, HIV, and MRSA. ...
- The cleanup of contaminated soil. ...
- Oil spill cleanup.
Bioremediation is a process where microorganisms are used to break down pollutants, effectively cleaning up the contaminated site. These microbes can be specifically designed to remove pollutants without affecting other aspects of a water system like its drinkability or local wildlife.What is it called when bacteria reproduce? ›
Bacteria reproduce through a process called binary fission. During binary fission, the chromosome copies itself, forming two genetically identical copies. Then, the cell enlarges and divides into two new daughter cells.
What types of bacteria cause diseases? ›
- Tetanus. Causative agent: Clostridium tetani. ...
- Tuberculosis. Causative agent: Mycobacterium tuberculosis. ...
- Pneumonia. Causative agent: Klebsiella pneumoniae. ...
- Cholera. Causative agent: Vibrio cholerae. ...
- Dysentery. Causative agent: genus Shigella. ...
- Pseudomonas Infection. ...
- Gonorrhea. ...
Bioremediation is defined as use of biological processes to degrade, break down, transform, and/or essentially remove contaminants or impairments of quality from soil and water.What are the factors affecting bioremediation? ›
Bioremediation process is also greatly affected by the characteristics of the contaminated site. Parameters such as soil texture, permeability, pH, water holding capacity, soil temperature, nutrient, and oxygen content affect bioremediation process.How safe is bioremediation? ›
Is bioremediation safe? Bioremediation is very safe because it uses the same microbes that already naturally occur in soil or water. This process simply adds more of these organisms to those already present. No dangerous chemicals are used in the process and harmful contaminants are completely destroyed.Is bioremediation good or bad? ›
Bioremediation is when we get organisms to use their natural processes to metabolize environmental pollutants. It's a great option for assisting us in cleaning up our environmental messes. If we can support the metabolism of the biological organisms metabolizing the contaminants then we are good to go.What are the limitations of bioremediation? ›
Bioremediation is limited to biodegradable compounds. This method is prone to rapid and complete degradation. Products of biodegradation may be more lasting or toxic than the parent compound.