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Conventional methods of
Dig up and remove it to a landfill
sk of excavation, handling and transport of hazardous material
ry expensive to find another land to finally dispose these materials

Cap and contain

Maintain it in the same land but isolate i
• Only an interim solution
• Requires monitoring and maintenance
of isolation barriers for a long time
Products are not converted into harmless products. Stay as a thre
Is there a better approach?
Better approaches

estroy them completely, if possible

Transform them in to harmless substance

Methods already in use

High temperature incineration
Chemical decomposition like dechlorination, UV oxidation

But, are they effective?

But only to some extent
 Technological complexity
 The cost for small scale application – expensive
 Lack of public acceptance – especially in incineration
• Incineration generates more toxic compounds
• Materials released from imperfect incineration – cause
imbalance in the atmosphere. Ex. Ozone depletion
• Fall back on earth and pollute some other environment
• Dioxin production due to burning of plastics – leads to cancer
 May increase the exposure to contaminants,
for both workers and nearby residents
Bioremediation makes
effective better approach possible.
by destroying or render them harmless using natural biological
Relatively low cost
Low technology techniques
Generally has general public acceptance
Can often be carried out on site – no excavation, no transpor

y not be effective on all contaminants
me duration – relatively long
pertise required to design and implemen
hough not technically complex
• is a general term referring to the
microbially mediated decomposition
of paper, paint, textiles, concrete,
• Superior technique over using
chemicals – why?
3.Microorganisms – easy to handle
4.Easy to clear – using antibiotics
Types of Biodegradation
1. Minor change in a molecule
2. Fragmentation
3. Complete mineralization
One example to describe all 3 types
Minor change in a molecule




Cl is replaced with OH





ginal structure can still be recognized in these two types. Bu





Completely converted into inorganic forms

• is defined as the process whereby
organic wastes are biologically
degraded under controlled conditions
to an innocuous state, or to levels
below concentration limits
established by regulatory authorities
2 types

Engineered Bioremediation
 Intentional changes

Intrinsic Bioremediation
 Simply allow biodegradation to
occur under natural conditions
Factors affecting Engineered
Qualities of microorganism &
Sources of microorganisms
Disadvantages of GEMs
1. Contact between the microbes and
the substrate
2. Proper physical environment
3. Nutrients
4. Oxygen
5. Absence of toxic compounds
• Able to degrade hydrocarbons
• Able to fix nitrogen
• No secondary/side effects

• Presence of accessory nutrients (N P K F

• Absence of heavy meta
• Adequate O2, Temperature, p
 From contaminated field sites
(with varying environmental conditions -
subzero temperatures or extreme heat,
desert conditions or in water,
with excess of oxygen or in anaerobic conditions,
with presence of hazardous compounds or on any
waste stream)
 From culture collections
 Genetically Engineered
Microorganisms (GEMs)
Mainly 3 reasons…
• Lab strains become food source for
soil protozoa
• Inability of GEMs to contact the
compounds to be degraded
• Failure of GEMs to survive/compete
indigenous microorganisms. Mostly
due to lack / decreased activity of House
Keeping Genes.
- a bioremediation under natural condition
• is a natural attenuation process that
leads to the decrease in contaminant
levels in a particular environment
due to unmanaged physical,
chemical and biological processes.
Is it advantageous over
engineered bioremed.?
May give unexpected results
• Microbes in Hudson river mud developed
an ability to partially degrade PCB (Poly
Chlorinated Biphenyls)
Process occurs in 2 steps
Partial dehalogenation of PCBs occurs naturally
under anaerobic conditions

Less chlorinated residues

Then mud is aerated to promote the complete degradation

of these less chlorinated residues
Bioremediation in
South Central Alaska
• South Central Alaska is beautiful and
• Prince William Sound, surrounded by
land from the Chugach National
• Has many islands, bays, and fjords,
giving it more than 2,000 miles of
shoreline and making it one of the
nation’s largest relatively
undeveloped marine ecosystems
Decisions had to be made!
• The oil was spreading and
contaminating more and more
beaches every day.
• Clean-up methods had to be decided
upon to prevent further spreading of
the oil.
• Panel of experts in this field was
assembled on April 17-18, 1989, to
discuss the feasibility of using
bioremediation in Alaska
• Recommended EPA to apply fertilizer
(the addition of nutrients) on small
scale plots
• Could the technology be applied to
an environment so cold?
• Were there favorable conditions for
degradation of petroleum
• Is Prudehoe Bay Oil of sufficient
quality for biodegradation?
• Scientists knew that this type of oil
was degradable from past studies
• Now they needed to know the
concentrations of native
hydrocarbons degraders.
Is there anything called
native hydrocarbon degrader?
If so, How?
• Naturally Hydrocarbons have been
added to the environment by pine tree
droppings and natural seeps for
millions of years
• Carbon-hydrogen bonds of
hydrocarbons yield very high energy
• This became an excellent energy
source that allowed a complex
community to evolve over millions of
years to degrade these hydrocarbons
• Also, isolated in Prince William Sound
that degrade petroleum and it’s
• So, they expected accumulation of
these organisms in the oil spilled
• Found 10,000-fold increase of oil-
eating microbes in contaminated
What were the organisms found?
Acinetobacter Calcoaceticus Alcaligenes sp.
Arthrobacter/Brevibacterium sp.
Oceanospirillum sp. sp.
Pseudomonas putida Pseudomonas
Pseudomonas sp. fluorescens
Trichosporon sp. Pseudomonas stutzeri
his large community of microorganisms
vesicularis made i
unnecessary to introduce
Then type of Bioremediation
• Scientists knew that biodegradation
was occurring. But to speed up the
• Wanted to know the limiting factors
• Nitrogen and Phosphorous in
seawater are severely limiting to
microbial hydrocarbon degradation
(had already been published)
• Is Oxygen a limiting factor? – No
• Is Temperature a limiting factor? -
• Started on May of 1989 on Knight
• This project was designed to
determine the feasibility of
biodegradation enhancement by
adding fertilizers
• Nutrient applications began on June
8, 1989Selected
at Snug Harbor,
as the first testlocated on it had a
site because
the southeastern side with
long length of shoreline of the island
several beach mate
• Approximately after 10 to 14 days
visual reductions in the amount of oil
covering the rocks were apparent
• also a visual reduction in the oil-
covered sand and gravel beach
• Further tests proved that this
reduction is due to BIOREMEDIATION
and to prove that this is not due to
chemical cleaning.
Based on the promising results of the
initial field test at Snug Harbor and
the absence of any adverse effects
on the area’s ecosystem, EPA
recommended in July that the
bioremediation efforts be scaled up
during summer.
By the end of the summer of 1989, 74
miles of shoreline were treated with
nutrient applications
n situ Bioremediation
(at the site)

Ex situ Bioremediation
(away from the site)
• Bioventing
involves supplying air and nutrients
through wells to contaminated soil to
stimulate the indigenous bacteria.
• Biosparging
involves the injection of air under
pressure below the water table to
increase groundwater oxygen
concentrations and enhance the rate of
biological degradation of contaminants
by naturally occurring bacteria.
• Bioaugmentation
involves practice of adding specialized
microbes or their enzyme preparation to
polluted matrices to accumulate
transformation or stabilization of specific
• Landfarming
involves a simple technique in which
contaminated soil is excavated and spread
over a prepared bed and periodically tilled
until pollutants are degraded.
• Composting
Traditional method to convert waste
into household usable materials
involves combining contaminated soil
with nonhazardous organic amendants
such as manure or agricultural wastes.
The presence of these organic materials
supports the development of a rich
microbial population and elevated
temperature characteristic of
Where did they get the concept
• Evolutionary some plants have
evolved the capacity to take up and
accumulate selected metals in their
shoots in levels that are toxic to
ordinary plants
• Some plants have developed
symbiotic association with microbes
that can degrade certain pollutants

Although the application of microbe

biotechnology has been successful with
petroleum-based constituents, microbial
digestion has met limited success for
widespread residual organic and metals
Vegetation- based remediation shows potential
for accumulating, immobilizing, and
transforming a low level of persistent
In natural ecosystems, plants act as filters and
metabolize substances generated by nature.
Term coined in 1991
5 types based on the fate of contaminants
2 3


Phytotransformation Phytodegradation

• Also called Phytoaccumulation
• A process used by the plants to
accumulate contaminants into the
roots and shoots or leaves.
• Technique saves tremendous
remediation cost by accumulating low
levels of contaminants from a
widespread area (usually metals)
• Also called Phytodegradation
• refers to the uptake of organic
contaminants from soil, sediments,
or water and, subsequently, their
transformation to more stable, less
toxic, or less mobile form.
• Metal chromium can be reduced from
hexavalent to trivalent chromium,
which is a less mobile and non-
carcinogenic form.
• Leachable (permeate gradually)
constituents are adsorbed and bound
into the plant structure so that they
form a stable mass of plant from
which the contaminants will not
reenter the environment
• Also called rhizodegradation
• is the breakdown of contaminants through
the activity existing in the rhizosphere.
• Due to the presence of proteins and
enzymes produced by the plants or by soil
organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and
• a symbiotic relationship that has evolved
between plants and microbes
• Plants provide nutrients necessary for the
microbes to thrive, while microbes provide
• is a water remediation technique that
involves the uptake of contaminants
by plant roots
• used to reduce contamination in
natural wetlands and estuary areas

The wide part of a river where it

nears the sea; fresh and salt water mix
• use at very large field sites where
other methods of remediation are not
cost effective or practicable
• use at sites with a low concentration
of contaminants where only polish
treatment is required over long
periods of time
• in conjunction with other
technologies where vegetation is
used as a final cap and closure of the