What is bioremediation?
Bioremediation is a branch of biotechnology which deals with the use of living organisms such as microbes to remove contaminants, pollutants and toxins from soil and water. It can be used to clean up environmental problems like an oil spill or contaminated groundwater.
Bioremediation processes commonly involve oxidation-reduction reactions where reduced pollutants are oxidized and oxidized pollutants are reduced. There are many different types of pollutants that can be eliminated with this technique: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum, pesticides, chlorophenols, heavy metals, dye’s, sulphates, etc.
There are two main types of bioremediation: biostimulation and bioaugmentation. Biostimulation consists in the addition of limiting nutrients to support or stimulate the existing native microorganisms present in the environment that are able to carry out bioremediation. Bioaugmentation consists in the addition of living cells that are capable of speeding up the degradation of certain contaminants.
Bioremediation has got many advantages in comparison to other remediation alternatives. These advantages are: it is a relatively green method that causes less damage to ecosystems, it creates few harmful byproducts and it is cheaper than most cleanup methods, as it doesn’t require a great deal of equipment.
Microorganisms are responsible for multiple processes related to the environment, such as the improvement of soil quality and the production of energy, especially in anaerobic digestion processes. In DARWIN, we look for and select the best microbial strains to improve this type of processes. Specifically, we have extensive experience in bioremediation of contaminated environments, and in improving the productivity of biogas generation plants.