The Environmental Application Of Microorganisms

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Microorganisms have been used by human beings to their benefit for centuries. Ancient biotechnology utilized yeast to make bread and wine – perhaps well before they even knew that tiny microbes were causing bread to rise, or grapes to ferment! In the modern day, the use of microbes has extended so far as to actually help us reverse the damages we cause to the environment. One such environmental application of microorganisms is Bioremediation – the use of either indigenous or Hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria (HCBs) to rapidly digest hydrocarbons from oil spills. According to a recent study by The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited, between 2010 and 2012 there were 21 tanker spills, 5 of which were above 700 tons (2012).…show more content…
The study conducted by Kadali et al. examined a range of hydrocarbons contained in crude oil and determined the key hydrocarbon degrading bacteria in each constituent. These types of studies are crucial to the process of improving the efficacy of bioremediation whilst limiting the alteration of native microbial communities. The importance of maintaining native biodiversity is underscored by a 2012 study by Dell’Anno et al. titled “High bacterial biodiversity increases degradation performance of hydrocarbons during bioremediation of contaminated harbor marine sediments”. This study demonstrates that “biodegradation effiencies of hydrocarbons were significantly and positively related with bacterial richness and evenness” (Dell’Anno et al., 2012). Methods, Observations and Discussion The study conducted by McKew et al. examined the efficiency of degradation of n-alkanes (or straight-chain hydrocarbons) in response to various types of intervention strategies. It is somewhat established that the native marine bacteria may not be able to degrade the constituents of crude oil spills without the aid of microorganisms that are specialized in disintegrating hydrocarbons – Hydocarbonoclastic bacteria, or HCBs. McKew et al.’s study quantifies this
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