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The bioremediation process explained

With the world facing somewhat of a crisis with climate change, the need for environmental protection has never been this high. There are many ways to conserve and clean the environment, remediation is one of them. The bioremediation process is a method used in remediation that is favoured because of its sustainability and cost-effectiveness.


Definition of environmental remediation

Environmental remediation is the practice of removing specific pollutants out of natural media like soil and surface water to reduce exposure from harmful things such as radiation from toxic, pesticides, trash and other health hazards.

This process is essential for several industries, especially construction, civil engineering and demolition. This is because land that is worked upon needs to be safe to work with and free of harmful pollutants. Besides the human safety aspect of environmental remediation, protecting the environment is now more crucial than ever.


Exploring the bioremediation process

As a favoured method of environmental remediation, the bioremediation process involves altering certain physical conditions through chemical reactions within the targeted environment. This is done to stimulate the growth microorganisms that will allow the land to retain its natural state and aid in the degradation of the targeted pollutants.

There are a few ways to perform bioremediation, such as the use of Aerobic and Anaerobic chemistry. Each process serves its own purpose, here’s an outline of how each works:


Aerobic oxidation

As the most common form of bioremediation, aerobic oxidation uses oxygen as an electron acceptor to oxidise substances such as  petroleum, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenols, and other targeted pollutants. Oxygen is used because it has a higher energy yield compared to other electron acceptors.

When pollutants are exposed to the oxygen, they become electron donors, a process which slowly but effectively degrades the targeted pollutants. These pollutants can range from sugar and alcohol to organic material and fuel hydrocarbons.


Anaerobic oxidation

Anaerobic bioremediation is commonly used to treat chlorinated ethenes and ethanes, chloromethanes and organochlorides. The process is done by introducing an oxygen donor to targeted areas to deplete background electron acceptors which can then stimulate the biological or chemical reduction of the oxidised pollutants. This method aims to degrade toxic substances by decreasing their toxicity to organisms over time.


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