Chapter 41 : Bioremediation and Greenery

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For an industrialist charged with the development of a particular technology, the technology should be ecologically acceptable, neither polluting the biosphere nor consuming finite resources, and ideally actually improving the quality of the natural environment. It should not be radically new, because this would bring inherent uncertainties as to its consequences. Bioremediation—using microorganisms to degrade environmental pollutants—is surely such a technology. Bioremediation is appropriate for application in both developing and developed countries. It is difficult to draw any clear line between dedicated, scientifically based bioremediation and, for example, the continual recycling of elements in the biosphere or the sort of natural cleansing that occurred along the Kuwaiti following the deliberate leaking of oil during the occupation of Kuwait in 1990-91. This chapter presents a few studies, which have invited comments on specific applications of biotechnology, that provide more concrete evidence that helps to predict the likely public mood in regard to the use of microorganisms in bioremediation. It also illustrates that the hard evidence does not seem to justify the worst fears of many commentators as regards alleged public hostility toward biotechnology, and of the various applications of biotechnology, bioremediation appears to be one of the most likely to enjoy public confidence and support.

Citation: Dixon B. 2009. Bioremediation and Greenery, p 189-193. In Animalcules. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817442.ch41
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