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Bioresources for Control of Environmental Pollution

Chapter
Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 147)

Abstract

Environmental pollution is one of the biggest threats to human beings. For practical reasons it is not possible to stop most of the activities responsible for environmental pollution; rather we need to eliminate the pollutants. In addition to other existing means, biological processes can be utilized to get rid of toxic pollutants. Degradation, removal, or deactivation of pollutants by biological means is known as bioremediation. Nature itself has several weapons to deal with natural wastage and some of them are equally active for eliminating nonnatural pollutants. Several plants, microorganisms, and some lower eukaryotes utilize environmental pollutants as nutrients and some of them are very efficient for decontaminating specific types of pollutants. If exploited properly, these natural resources have enough potential to deal with most elements of environmental pollution. In addition, several artificial microbial consortia and genetically modified organisms with high bioremediation potential were developed by application of advanced scientific tools. On the other hand, natural equilibria of ecosystems are being affected by human intervention. Rapid population growth, urbanization, and industrialization are destroying ecological balances and the natural remediation ability of the Earth is being compromised. Several potential bioremediation tools are also being destroyed by biodiversity destruction of unexplored ecosystems. Pollution management by bioremediation is highly dependent on abundance, exploration, and exploitation of bioresources, and biodiversity is the key to success. Better pollution management needs the combined actions of biodiversity conservation, systematic exploration of natural resources, and their exploitation with sophisticated modern technologies.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords

Bioremediation Biodiversity Exploration Natural resources Environmental tools 

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Bioengineering, School of Chemical and Biomedical EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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