Scientific Foundations

Bioremediation uses microorganisms to remove pollutants from soils, liquids, and gases. A microorganism (sometimes called a microbe) is any single-celled organism that is so tiny it can be seen only with the use of a microscope. One of the most commonly used microorganisms in bioremediation is bacteria. The microorganisms use chemicals called enzymes to biodegrade pollutants. Biodegrad-ing is the process by which a material breaks down quickly and safely into its elementary components. Biodegradable substances can be solid materials that break down into the soil, liquids that break down into water, and gases that break down in the air. The natural process of biodegrading is often used by humans for the treatment of agricultural, industrial, and municipal waste. Several biodegrading stages are usually used. A different microorganism is generally used in each step to break down a specific toxic (poisonous) substance into a nontoxic substance.

The first use of bioremediation of soil with special equipment that turned the contaminated with explosives occurred in soil. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

1997 at the Umatilla Army Depot Activity stated that almost 5,000 cubic yards near Hermiston, Oregon. Explosive materi- (3,823 cubic meters) of soil was success-

als left in lagoons contained high levels fully treated. In the end, measurements of TNT and other explosive contaminants. could not detect any explosives in the soil.

Cow and chicken manure, potatoes, saw- In addition, Army scientists estimated dust, alfalfa, and other agricultural that it saved more than $2.6 million by wastes were added to the contaminated using bioremediation over non-biological soil. The biological process was sped up methods.

Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

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