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Hi, my name is Vincent Siefe and I am a student at San Marcos High. I am currently doing a small repot on bitotechnology, within the subtopic of microbial biodegradation. Most of the books and sources I have found dive into too much scientific detail which I can't understand. So I have some questions.

1. I have found that microbes have been used to break down chemicals and pollutants in the earth. Yet can they be used for other environmental technological applications?

2. Do you know how these laboratory processes came about?

3. Could you recommend any sources?

Thanks for the help
Answer 1:

1. I have found that microbes have been used to break down chemicals and pollutants in the earth. Yet can they be used for other environmental technological applications?

Microbes are working away whether we employ them in "bioremediation" or not because they are naturally occurring. They clean up natural oil spills and animal wastes, and they also decompose organic material like trees and leaves into smaller organic soil particles.


Answer 2:

1. I have found that microbes have been used to break down chemicals and pollutants in the earth.Yet can they be used for other environmental technological applications?

Microbes can be genetically engineered to produce many types of molecules, such as proteins, for use as drugs and other special uses. I wonder if there are microbes that produce proteins that bind to heavy metals, so that one could put these proteins into water with heavy-metal toxins, and the heavy metals would all bind to the proteins and could be removed from the water by removing the proteins from the water. [How do you think one could remove the proteins from the water? I think water purification systems that use osmosis would remove the proteins.]

Answer 3:

1. I have found that microbes have been used to break down chemicals and pollutants in the earth. Yet can they be used for other environmental technological applications?

Microbes can be used for a wide variety of things, particularly for cleaning up a wide variety of pollutants. Microbes can also be used for defeating other unwanted organisms. For instance, there are now some pesticides composed of microbes that are deadly to insects but not to larger animals.


Answer 4:

2. Do you know how these laboratory processes came about?

I believe bioremediation didn't become a popular method of cleaning large-scale contamination until the 1980s.


Answer 5:

3. Could you recommend any sources?

Here's one paper from the EPA: epa

You can also try pointing your search engine toward companies that use bioremediation technology.

I remember this company: click_here from my environmental consulting days.


Answer 6:

I recommend Wikipedia as the best source for more info. It's a great free online encyclopedia that is as good as Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica is maybe the best encyclopedia one can buy, but it is very expensive. I read a scientific article that said scientists had judged Wikipedia's science articles to be as good as Britannica's.



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