Nanobiotechnology for Bioremediation: Recent Trends

Nanobiotechnology for Bioremediation: Recent Trends

Swati Jagdale (MAEER's Maharashtra Institute of Pharmacy, India), Asawaree Hable (Maharashtra Institute of Pharmacy, India) and Aniruddha Chabukswar (MAEER's Maharashtra Institute of Pharmacy, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4162-2.ch015


Nanobiotechnology is the combination of nanotechnology and biotechnology. Bioremediation is defined as a waste management technique that involves use of organisms to remove or neutralize pollutants from a contaminated site. This involves no use of chemicals and it allows waste to get recycled; this process has evolved as one of the most important methods. Remediation of contaminants using existing conventional technology is neither effective nor efficient in environmental cleanup. Techniques developed from nanobiotechnology can detect, control, and remediate pollutants by acting as sensors. Use of nanomaterials has less toxic effects and this will not only reduce consumption time but also reduce cost. Nanoparticles developed by using microbial systems provide green nanotechnology and help in keeping the environment clean. Green nanotechnology needs to develop to make cleaner environment with great ecological balance on earth. This chapter deals with traditional methods of bioremediation, methods in nanobiotechnology, and future aspects.
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As a consequence of human activities, huge quantities of organic and inorganic compounds are discharged into the environment every year. In some cases the discharge is deliberate and regulated (e.g. industrial waste) while in some they are accidental (e.g. spill of chemicals or oil).Majority cases these compounds are toxic and persistent in the environment. The accumulation of toxic compounds in excess levels results in contamination of soil, air and groundwater. The quality of life on earth is dependent on the overall quality of environment on earth. In early years, there was a great abundance of land and other natural resources. In today’s world, because of our negligent and careless behavior in use of natural resources it is getting contaminated. Now, problems associated with contaminated sites are increasing in many countries. Contamination of land/ soil/air/water is a result of domestic and industrial activities like production and disposal of hazardous pollutants. Now contamination of natural resources is recognized as a potential threat to human health. The research on minimization on contamination provides not only remedies to reduce the risk of adverse health or environmental effects caused by contamination but also redevelopment of resources. Many conventional methods are available for remediation such as digging up of soil and removal in landfill or cap contaminated areas. But these types of conventional methods have some drawbacks as significant risks in the excavation, handling and transport of hazardous material. The conventional methods are very difficult to work and expensive (Vidali, 2001, Bihari., 2013).

A newer approach is to destroy or transform the pollutants into innocuous substances. These new approaches include use of high-temperature incineration and chemical decomposition (e.g. dechlorination, UV oxidation). These methods are effective for minimizing the contaminants but have few drawbacks like complexity, cost, small-scale application, lack of acceptance, high exposure to contaminants for workers and nearby residents. Now the new approach is bioremediation which offers the destruction or reduction of contaminants using natural biological activity. The bioremediation techniques are widely accepted as it utilizes relatively low-cost, low-technology techniques, high public acceptance and can be easily carried out on site. Although these methods are not very complex technically, they are applicable for limited range of contaminants, involve lengthy process and expertise is required for design and implementation. There should be through assessment of a site for a successful bioremediation plan. Research in this field is rapidly increasing as bioremediation is a good alternative over conventional clean-up technologies. Bioremediation has been used worldwide with variation of success rate. With the information and experience available, there are improvements in these techniques. Thus these techniques have a great potential for treatment of contamination. (Pandey et al., 2012, Bihari, 2013).

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