Role of Biotechnology in Bioremediation

Role of Biotechnology in Bioremediation

Tapan Kumar Mohanta (National Institute of Plant Genome Research, India), Yugal Kishore Mohanta (North Orissa University, India) and Nibedita Mohanta (North Orissa University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8682-3.ch016
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The global environment is now facing a highly critical situation due to rapid urbanization and industrialization as well as increasing population in the limited natural resources. The population growth reflects the drastic changes of the life style of the people that created anthropogenic stress on the environment. There is requirement of highly developed environmental management systems and search of biotechnological technology to remove the contaminated materials and reestablish the natural resources Bioremediation is now considered as the most useful alternative method for eradicate the contaminated material from the nature for sustainable waste management. Now with recent advancement of the genetic approach multiplies the bioremediation process for protection of the natural environment by recycling the waste materials. This chapter covers detail notes on the use of most advanced technology to boost up the bioremediation process.
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Environmental pollutants are now the major global concern due their undesirable recalcitrant and xenobiotic compounds. A variety of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorinated and nitro-aromatic compounds and xenobiotics, were depicted to be highly toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic for all living organisms in the earth. A number of microorganisms are considered to be the best suitable candidates among all living organisms to remediate most of the environmental contaminants into the natural biogeochemical cycle due to their diversity, versatility and adaptability in adverse conditions. These microorganisms exhibit a remarkable range of contaminant degradable capacity that can proficiently restore the natural environmental conditions. However, some contaminants have been shown to be uncommonly recalcitrant, i.e. microorganisms neither metabolize nor transform them into certain other nontoxic metabolites. As a result, it may be more productive to discover new catabolic pathways that might lead towards complete mineralization of these toxic pollutants. Due to complexity of microbial physiology which allows response and adaptability to various internal and external stimuli, the perfect knowledge of mechanisms of microbial degradation pathways is quite incomplete. (Fulekar, 2007).

Bioremediation, a biological process mediated by microorganisms, is now considered to be one of the most sustainable approaches to degrade and detoxify environmental contaminants. Though bioremediation approach has been used at varying degrees for more than 60 years, for example petroleum land farming, it historically has been implemented as a very ‘black box’ engineering solution where amendments are added and the pollutants are degraded (Chakraborty, Wu, & Hazen, 2012). This approach is often successful but practically admiration of less result as desirable, i.e., instead of degradation of the contaminant, even production of more toxic daughter products is found. The key to successful bioremediation is to trap up the naturally occurring catabolic potential of microorganisms to effectively catalyze transformations of environmental pollutants. Small scale experiments using distinct microbial consortia in the laboratory is an immense starting point in providing crucial initial indication of the bioremediation process within definite control condition. However In situ bioremediation in real execution is a complex phenomenon involving more than one contaminant and simultaneously mediated by different microorganisms involving different metabolic pathways, across geochemical gradients, geophysical and hydrological complexities (Purohit, 2003).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Proteomics: Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins, particularly their structures and functions.

Pyrosequencing: Pyrosequencing is a method of DNA sequencing (determining the order of nucleotides in DNA) based on the “sequencing by synthesis” principle.

Microbial Degradation: Interest in the microbial biodegradation of pollutants has intensified in recent years as humanity strives to find sustainable ways to clean up contaminated environments.

Metabolomic: Metabolomics is the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites.

Genetic Engineering: Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct manipulation of an organism's genome using biotechnology.

MetaRouter: It is a system for maintaining heterogeneous information related to Biodegradation in a framework that allows its administration and mining.

Metagenomic: Metagenomics is the study of genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples.

Mass Spectrometry: Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical chemistry technique that helps identify the amount and type of chemicals present in a sample by measuring the mass-to-charge ratio and abundance of gas-phase ions.

Contaminants: Biological, chemical, physical, or radiological substance (normally absent in the environment) which, in sufficient concentration, can adversely affect living organisms through air, water, soil, and/or food.

Metabolites: Metabolites are the intermediates and products of metabolism. The term metabolite is usually restricted to small molecules.

Transcriptomics: The transcriptome is the set of all RNA molecules, including mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, and other non-coding RNA transcribed in one cell or a population of cells.

Microbiomes: A microbiome is “the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space.”

Xenobiotic Compounds: A xenobiotic is a foreign chemical substance found within an organism that is not normally naturally produced by or expected to be present within that organism.

Biosensor: Biosensors are analytical tools, which use the biological signals in sensing the target molecule.

Bioremediation: Bioremediation is a waste management technique that involves the use of organisms to remove or neutralize pollutants from a contaminated site.

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