Each year, vast amounts of pollutants infiltrate the environment from a variety of sources. These include household product spills and leaks, agricultural processes, and commercial and industrial activity. Bioremediation is a development in biotechnology that allows for quick, safe, and natural removal of these dangerous pollutants. This method of removing harmful contaminants from water and soil utilizes bacteria to get the job done. Read on to discover the fascinating process of just how these oil eating microbes remove contamination.
What Is Bioremediation?
There are a number of response methods for removing petroleum-based waste. Bioremediation is unique because it utilizes living organisms—bioremediation bacteria— to safely break down and completely eliminate the waste. These microbial communities, which occur naturally in soil and water, are selected for their collective ability to degrade hydrocarbon molecules. They are not genetically altered in any way.
These microbes efficiently degrade simple and complex hydrocarbons, capable of oxidizing the wide variety of 300,000 potential natural hydrocarbon molecules. Essentially, they “eat” the pollution, effectively cycling both organic and inorganic compounds into environmentally benign components like carbon, carbon dioxide, base elements, and water. Bioremediation products are fully biodegradable; once the hydrocarbon contamination is degraded, the microbes die and can be used as a food source by aquatic and earth organisms.
Real World Bioremediation Examples
Bioremedies can be used to recycle oil, sewage, grease, and chlorinated compounds in water and soils over a wide range of environments. The conditions required for pique effectiveness are simply normal environmental parameters for microorganism growth. These include:
- An energy source
- A carbon source
- An electron acceptor
- Appropriate space, salinity, carbon, oxygen, pH, temperature, and water
Given these conditions, bioremediation products can be used from industrial facilities to fuel stations, fire departments, refineries, oil rig operations. The following are three real-world examples of bioremediation techniques in use around the world.
A Safe & Effective Oil Absorbent
The use of microbes to clean up oil spills has been studied by scientists at the behest of the U.S. government since the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Since that time, researchers continue to validate the safety and efficacy of bioremediation of oil spills. Today, bioremediation products are an accessible, affordable, and environmentally friendly means of cleaning up small and large scale oil marine oil pollution.
Bionex Technology’s KeSorb, for example, can be applied to oil spills on the water to dissolve and emulsify oil mud residue, grease, and industrial oils. Not only are bioremedies like this ideal for oil spills because of their quick oil absorbency, but they are also safe for the environment and for responders because they are non-toxic and reduce flammability. In fact, no environmental impact has been identified over 16 years of use in a wide variety of environments throughout several countries.
Bioremediation of Soil
In addition to cleaning up emergent oil spills, bioremedies can be used to restore tainted soil. Oil eating bacteria act as a degreaser, safely cleaning agricultural or industrial machinery, and even household chemical spills. The microbes in these products emulsify heavy grease and oil residue. In fact, local farmers in Ecuadors’ Amazon Rainforest are now tapping into the power of bioremediation, employing microbes to improve crop prospects in the wake of decades of oil industry pollution.
When applied to the ground, the product follows the food source — the hydrocarbons leaching into the ground. As they do their job, and the contaminants become depleted, the bacteria will reduce in number. Because the product consists of natural soil and water organisms, they will return to normal background numbers, leaving no toxic aftermath or disruption.
A Powerful Approach for Groundwater Remediation
Bioremediation can also be used for groundwater remediation. Just as the microbes follow contaminants in soil, aquifer movement will spread the bioremediation, and they will target and naturally purify the groundwater. A Washington State University Tri-Cities professor recently put the microbes to work in 2019 in an effort to decontaminate groundwater at a NASA test site in California.
Types of Bioremediation Products
Bionex Technology provides products for oil spill response, soil, and groundwater cleanup which are safe to use, based on science and proven to work. Each of our five projects contains a high concentration of microorganisms, collected from a wide range of soil types around the world, and selected for their affinity for hydrocarbons, both biochemically and physically. Bionex Technology’s bacteria is not genetically modified and is certified to be pathogen-free, routinely analyzed by an independent laboratory for potential dangerous microorganisms. The cells are dried by a proprietary process and concentrated into an inert powder base, providing a concentrate that is easy to handle and ship. Contact our experts in Houston today for more information about projects, prices, and customizing a plan for your home or business.