A Quick Overview of Bioremediation

A Quick Overview of Bioremediation

Bioremediation can be described as the process in which bacteria are used to break down or degrade hazardous substances into inert substances. In a basic way, the bacteria produce enzymes that target a specific chemical bond within the hazardous molecule, breaking that bond and allowing further chemical reactions to occur, ultimately leading to the production of inert substances. This process occurs quite naturally without any intervention on our part, oil spills in the ocean promote the rapid growth of naturally occurring Oceanospirillales bacteria which breakdown crude oil, before returning to a dormant state. To harness this process efficiently, bacteria are selected according to their specificity and the right environmental conditions for growth and function are assured.

Typically bacteria are picked based on the genus traits, the common being the Bacillus and Pseudomonas genus and the Bacillus Subtilis species in particular, due to its ability to tolerate very harsh environmental conditions; they are known to survive after boiling.Their ability to withstand extreme conditions stem from their ability to form a tough, temporary structure and a tough outer coating, Endospores can survive for years in this state and resist most anti-bacterial’s (quaternary ammonium compounds and household Bleach), alcohols, UV radiation and most oxidizing agents.

The hardy nature of endospores is exploited as a delivery mechanism in a formulation, resisting the unfavourable conditions of the other components in the formulation and providing an effective storage lifetime. Once the B. subtilis detects the presence of a favourable environment and nutrients, they emerge from a vegetative state, reproduce and start to produce the required enzymes. However once activated, they become much more open to attack from strong anti-bacterial compounds and strong oxidizing agents. These strains of bacteria function in the presence of sufficient quantities of air (oxygen), in order to facilitate the oxidation reaction; these microbes are referred to as aerobic.

Rafael Cobos
rafcobos@futurecleansystems.com