Environmental Biotechnology Anjala Durgapal Lecturer Department of Botany M. B. Govt. P. G. College, Haldwani (Nainital) Uttrakhand
Introduction Biotechnology is “ the integration of natural sciences and engineering in order to achieve the application of organisms, cells parts thereof and molecular analogues for products and services ” (EFB, 1989). Environmental Biotechnology is the application of these processes for the protection and restoration of the quality of our environment.
Biotechnology for the reclamation and purification of waste water for re-use
Agricultural regions of the world, animal wastes and excess fertilizers result in high level of nitrates in drinking water.
Biotechnology has provided successful methods by which these compounds can be removed from processed water before it is delivered to customers .
Air and Gases Bio-scrubber (Cell suspension) Bio-trickling filter (Microorganisms immobilized on an inert matrix) Pollutants Nitrogen SO 2 Flue gas (blast furnace) Styrene (waste gas of polystyrene (Bio-filter: Fungi) Purified gases
Soil and land treatment In-situ: Bio-augmentation [ Introduction of micro-organisms ] Bio-stimulation [ Ventilation and /or adding nutrient solutions ] Ex-situ: Removal of soil and ground water and treating it above the ground Phyto-remediation employs use of plants and bacteria Metals from contaminated soils and ground water. For e.g.. Rhizobacteria Bio-remediation of land [bio-restoration] is cheaper than physical methods with harmless end products.
Bio-wastes can be converted to a valuable resource by composting or anaerobic digestion
Anerobic digesters permit the recovery of substantial amounts of high value bio-gas together with a high quality stable organic residue
The organic residue can be used as manure.
Recycling of solid waste can save enormous cost of incineration
Prevention Involves development of processes with reduced environmental impacts Biotechnological ways of prevention are- Process improvement: Use of enzymes Product innovation: Development of new products that have less impact on environment their predecessors for e.g. genetically improved plant varieties that resistant against insects/ diseases, thereby reducing the use of pesticides.