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- Impact of Climate Change on Marine Biodiversity By:Varun Saini
The current state of knowledge highlights the need for a more comprehensive, multispecies approach to ecosystem-level analyses in order to better track and forecast changing marine ecosystems. Research needs span laboratory and field process studies, manipulative experiments, observational networks, historical data synthesis, and modeling from small-scale process simulations to large-scale coupled biophysical models. Especially important is the establishment of long-term, biologically oriented, and ecosystem-based observational systems >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bio-Plastics: Renewed Environment and Restores Life By:Deepti V S
When there is an advantage, there will be some disadvantage, when there is some disadvantage, it may be due to some problem and when there is a problem, there will be a solution. Starch based bioplastic is an alternative solution for Synthetic plastic >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Nano-Remediation: Application of Nanotechnology to Clean Up Environment By:Anirban Mukherjee
Environmental pollution is going to be a big issue in upcoming days. Application of nano technology shall help in remediation and cleanup environment. This article attempt to focus the area where Nano-remediation is possible. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Effect of Water Pollution on Environment By:Ekatpure Sachin Chandrakant
Now a day's water pollution is the major threat in the environment, clean drinking water is becoming scarce. Various sources are involved in the water pollution those are discussed below. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Sustainable Conservation Practices for Natural Resources [PDF] By:Dr. Rajdeep Mundiyara
Land and water are the most precious natural resources, the importance of which in human civilization needs no elaboration >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Biomedical Applications of Bioplastics By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Microbes operate certain metabolic pathways only when they encounter unfavourable environmental conditions. The most efficient energy generation metabolic pathway is the Tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA). However, if bacteria sense the presence of excessive amounts of Carbon (C) in their vicinity, they divert their TCA cycle towards bioplastic (Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)) biosynthesis. Although microbes use PHAs as energy reservoir. However, because of their unique physico-chemical properties, they can be used to replace synthetic plastics. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bioethanol: Production, Advantages, Disadvantages And Environmental Impacts By:Cornelius Onye Nichodemus
Bioethanol is a form of renewable energy that is produced from agricultural feedstocks (sugarcane, wheat, sorghum, corn, maize etc) through fermentation process which uses yeast as catalyst. Ethanol production has helped in reducing the depletion of the ozone layer through ethanol blended petrol in the ratio 85:15 and also making the environment friendly for man. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Biotechnological Techniques of Waste Management and Limitations of Bioremediation By:Cornelius Onye Nichodemus
The application of biotechnology in waste management is very important in view of its economic and environmental benefits. Using microorganisms in the treatment of industrial, mining and mineral wastes etc and also in extraction of metals from their ores through some biological methods. With some factors said to limit bioremediation processes such toxicity and concentration of chemicals. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- The Nature's Novel Ways To Genetically Modify Organisms By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Transmission of genetic material from parents to off springs is termed as vertical inheritance. In contrast, Nature allows transfer of genes among distantly related organisms and the pattern is called as Horizontal inheritance or Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT). HGT allows rapid evolution of organisms especially to confer the recipient organism an ability to withstand environmental stress. It is Nature's way to preserve genetic material of the donor, in case it gets into catastrophic environments. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Acid Mine Drainage: Sources, Impacts and Prevention By:Dr. Ankit Singla
Acid mine drainage is a serious matter of concern to the environment as it contains toxic substances which creates problem to the ecosystems and living beings. It can be controlled by preventing the flow of water to the mining sites >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Roles of Biotechnology in Solving Environmental Problems By:Cornelius Onye Nichodemus
The use of biological agents such as organisms, tissues, cells, etc in biotechnology can greatly reduce the pollution and degradation of the environment which is due to man's activities in a quest for economic development. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Phytoremediation: A Technology to Clean Environments By:Dr. Darshan Dharajiya
Now a day, spreading of contaminants into the natural environments is becoming a threat to humankind as well as other life forms. Phytoremediation, as a technique of bioremediation, is the implication of plants to remove contaminants from the polluted sites. The use of genetic engineering in might enhances the efficiency of the technique. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- The Dawn of Novel Drug Targets and Drugs By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Bacteria seem to be a constant threat to the existence of human beings. We search anti-bacterials to attack bacteria and they develop resistance. No body is winning this battle. The best way is to let bacteria grow and stop their pathogenecity. Here, are the novel tools to achieve this: Live and Let Live - Fool the bacteria and save yourself. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Emerging Green Technologies for Processing Oil-seeds By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
The demand for edible oils is increasing globally but the supply is limited. The limiting factors are: (i) land availability (ii) inefficient extraction processes. Among the methods used for oil extraction, solvent extraction is easy and instant but is limited by the high solvent cost and adds to environmental hazards. The use of green solvents and enzymes can overcome the problems of air pollution, toxicity and process inefficiency. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Green Clean Technology: A novel tool for remediation of hazardous toxicants By:Dr. Vipin Kumar Gupta
This technology offers the opportunity to utilize living green plants in decontaminating or reducing the amount of hazardous pollutants in soil, air, and water i.e. utilize nature to cleanse nature. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Dig out to Fight out Staphylococcus: The Genomic Route By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Staphylococcus is the route cause of diseases such as cellulitis, boils, food poisoning, impetigo, toxic shock syndrome. In general, these bacteria don't cause disease. Physically the infection can be seen as collection of pus, tender, painful reddened and swollen skin area. The most notorious of this group is known as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). For proper treatment, correct identification and diagnosis are a must. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bioremediation of Environmental Pollutants: A novel approach By:Dr. Vipin Kumar Gupta
The manuscript briefly discuss the use of various biological systems present in cow dung to destroy or reduce amount of pollutants in environment. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Biodegradable Plastics: Natural versus 'Synthetic' By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Plastics are one of the most widely used non-biodegradable synthetic chemical products. Microbes under stressed environmental conditions can produce natural bioplastics (polyhydroxyalkanoates, PHAs), which are completely degradable. In contrast, there are 'synthetic' bioplastics, which are prepared by mixing chemicals and biological materials. Here, degradation is limited to the contribution of biological matter. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- The Struggle to Fish Out the Dreadful Streptococcus By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Bacterial diseases causing high morbidity and mortality rates are dreaded by all. Pnuemonia, Otitis Media, Meningitis and Bacteremia are associated with drug resistant Streptococcus species. These bacteria spread rapidly and lead to fatal situations. The causal organism Streptococcus needs to be fished out with precision and treatment must be initiated quickly to prevent the spread of the disease. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- A Friend Among Foes: Lactobacillus By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Lactobacillus strain in small numbers act as probiotics and prove helpful to human beings. It enables easy uptake of nutrients, consumption of milk, treating unhealthy conditions and activate the human immune system. Food Industries are the most worried of contamination of good with bad bacteria. In order to maintain quality and take maximum advantage of the potential health benefits bestowed by Lactobacillus, they must be monitored and identified properly. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bio Fuels: A Green Alternative for Energy Sustainability [PDF] By:Aditi Mathur
This article concentrates on need, types, and techniques of production, advantages and disadvantages of bio fuels. It also depicts the trends of use of bio fuel in India and future plans to adopt it as a blend in conventional petroleum fuel. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Searching the Dreadful Yersinia in a Crowd By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Yersinia infection is lethal to human beings. It is one of the most dreadful pathogens. The need is to identify them and initiate the treatment before it is too late. Culture techniques are the best but not rapid. Molecular techniques based on 16S rDNA (rrs) gene analysis are limited by the presence of 6-7 copies of this gene/genome. Many other genes have been employed for identifying Yersinia, however there is no consensus. Comparative genomics has revealed consensus genes with unique properties to search Yersinia in a crowd. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Diagnostic Biomarkers in the Taxonomically Oversized Genus - Clostridium By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
The genus Clostridium is composed of bacteria having great biotechnological and medical significance. The genus encompasses around 110 species with a G+C content ranging from 24-58 mol%. The identification of the Clostridium strains is complicated by the multiple (9-22) copies of 16S rDNA (rrs) (the most commonly used gene for bacterial identification) per genome. Novel genomic approaches reveal biomarkers for easy identification and rapid diagnosis. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Cell to Cell Communication and Social Networking in Plant Pathogenic Bacteria By:Dr. Namita Das Saha
It was a common perception that, bacterial cells are primarily selfish individuals, but, in recent past, it has become clear that, they behave like well organized social organisms like us. Such cell to cell networking is called Quorum Sensing. For such communication they employ low molecular weight, diffusible signals and upon achieving a certain concentration (quorum concentration), it triggers certain set of gene expression. Recent findings have emanated that bacteria are not limited to communication within their own species but are capable of understanding interspecific messages also. More to this, more findings are coming up in timeline for quorum sensing and social chit-chat mechanism in fungus and as well other organisms also. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Biotechnological Significance of Biodegradation of Bioplastics By:Subhasree Ray
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biodegradable polymers produced by microbes, where they act as food reserves. Diverse bacteria and fungi produce the enzyme depolymerase to metabolize the PHA. The bio-products generated by PHA depolymerase have important significances, such as biofuels, fuel additives, probiotics, and in pharmaceutical industry, etc. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Potential of Stenotrophomonas for Bioremediation of Recalcitrant Pollutants By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Environmental pollution is caused by heavy use of highly recalcitrant organic compounds -insecticides and pesticides - Classified as priority pollutants by USEPA. Major causes of concern are: (i) Groundwater pollution, (ii) Toxic accumulation in food chain, (iii) Great ecological imbalance, (iv) Carcinogenic nature. Consequently poisoning leads to 2,00,000 deaths annually. Stentrophomonas has the potential for bioremediation of these recalcitrant pollutants. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bacillus - Industrial Work-Horse of the Microbial World By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Bacillus is well recognized for its ability to produce a wide range of enzymes and bioactive molecules with numerous biotechnological applications. Recent research works on this Industrial Work-Horse of the Microbial World have elucidated a few of its novel and latent talents: (i) Biofuel generator, (ii) Biodegradable plastics producer, and (iii) as Antipathogens. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Quorum Sensing and Bioremediation By:Jyotsana Prakash
Biodegradation of organic matter present in the waste water and effluents emanating from domestic and industrial sources is limited by the availability of material to microbes. Biosurfactants produced by Pseudomonas, Burkholderia and Bacillus through the phenomenon of quorum sensing promotes rapid biodegradation and bioremediation. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Microbial Polyhydroxyalkanoate Co-polymers From Biowastes By:Subhasree Ray
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHAs) are natural, biodegradable biopolymers. These can be used to replace petro-plastics. Bacteria can produce PHAs from diverse substrates. In general, bacteria produce polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). PHBs have poor commercial value due to their brittle nature and low strength. Whereas, co-polymers of PHA, have high economic viability, as these can be produced from different biowastes. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- The Battle: Microbes versus Vaccines, Antibiotics and Antipathogens By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
The ubiquitous nature of microbes reflects upon their metabolic diversity and ability to evolve rapidly to counter any environmental stress. They are bestowed with a unique arsenal to infect eukaryotic cells leading to the disease condition. Strategies have been developed to fight diseases: (i) vaccines to prevent bacterial attack, (ii) antibiotics to kill bacteria, and (iii) antipathogens, to prevent them from becoming virulent. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Biodiesel Industry Waste: Bane or Boon By:Vipin Chandra Kalia
Biodiesel is an efficient substitute for conventional and non-renewable petroleum diesel. It is less polluting and cheaper than petro-diesel. However, for every 10 tonnes of biodiesel produced, 1 tonne of glycerol rich effluent needs to be disposed. Interestingly, the effluent can be metabolized into valued added products such as butanediol, biohydrogen, bioplastics, etc. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bioenergy and Bioproducts through Bacterial Quorum Sensing By:Jyotsana Prakash
A unique bacterial communication system called as Quorum Sensing (QS) operates at high cell densities. QS allows them to express certain phenotypes, such as biofilm formation, which can be exploited for producing value added products - bioenergy and bioproducts from biowastes. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bioluminescence and Biolighting By:Divya Narayan
Bioluminescence is one of the most interesting and visually appealing natural phenomena serving purposes such as communication, camouflage, etc. Biolighting can be regarded as alternate, non-polluting, environmentally-friendly energy >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Biodegradable Plastics: Green Option for Tackling Plastic Pollution By:Dr. Namita Das Saha
The biodegradable polymers could be an alternative to the conventional plastic materials. These polymers being biodegradable can be disposed off in safe and ecologically sound manner, through disposal processes (waste management) like composting, soil application, and biological wastewater treatment. Bio-based and biodegradable plastics can form the basis for environmentally preferable, sustainable alternative to current materials which are exclusively based on petroleum feed stocks. These bio-based materials offer value in the sustainability/ life-cycle equation by being a part of the biological carbon cycle and as well are a green option for tackling the plastic pollution >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Acinetobacter sp. - An Acid-tolerant Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria from Lateritic Soils [PDF] By:Dr. K.Surendra Gopal
The rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere soil samples were collected from various lateritic soils in Thrissur district of Kerala and phosphate solubilizing bacteria were isolated on Pikovskaya's agar medium. Under in vitro conditions, the bacterial isolate PMD-7 (Acinetobacter sp.) solubilized 207.2ug/ml of insoluble phosphorus. Its solubilization efficiency in Pikovskaya's agar medium was 247.62%. It grew in the pH range of 4.0 to 7.0 and tolerated upto pH 3.5. However, this new acid-tolerant PSB is the first report from Kerala, which could be a potential biofertilizer for acidic soils of Kerala >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Microbial Biomineralization of Calcium Carbonate By:Balaram Mohapatra
Microbial metabolic process leads to production of inorganic substances as biominerals and precipitation of calcium carbonate as biominerals is called microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICCP). Ureolytic bacterial strains from various habitats are the most promising choice for the process with several applications starting from healing of surface cracks to study of lithology of outer neighbor planets and other bioengineering aspects. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Methanotrophs: As an Environmental Remedy By:Lal Chand Malav
Methanotrophic bacteria are inimitable and ubiquitous bacteria that utilize methane as a sole source of carbon and energy from the atmosphere. They are highly specialized group of aerobic bacteria and have a unique capacity for oxidation of certain types of organic pollutants like alkanes, aromatics, halogenated alkenes, etc. Oxidation reactions are initiated by the methane monooxygenases enzyme, which can be expressed by methanotrophs in the absence of copper. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bioplastics - As Green Alternative to Plastics By:Sandeep Kumar
The use of plastics has shown a negative impact on the environment from the aspects of human health and there is need to overcome these effects. This can be achieved with the help of bioplastics which are produced from renewable biomass sources. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Phytoremediation: Super-plants Technology to Clean up the Environment By:Rohini Bansode
Toxic heavy metals have led to the contamination of environment and are harmful to the human health. Phytoremediation is the use of green plants and their associated microorganisms, soil amendments and agronomic practices to remove, contain or render harmless environmental contaminants. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Exploration of Uncultured Microorganisms Through Metagenomics By:Mahajan Mahesh Mohanrao
The article talks about culture independent approach (metagenomics) that overcome the limitations associated with conventional culture dependent techniques. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Phytoremediation of Heavy Metals By:Gajendra Rathod
Present article describes about the mechanism of heavy metal accumulation and sequestration in plants. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Study of Fungal Flora from Higher Termite Soil. By:Sreeremya Sasi
Study of fungal flora from higher termite soil collected from different regions of Palakkad district. Termites usually known as white ants have major significance. They have beneficial role and they have the ability to produce methane. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Tank Bottom Sludge- Hazards and Treatment Methods By:Dani Kate
This article outlines the various hazardous impacts of tank bottom sludge and the methods that can be used for the effective treatment and disposal of the concerned sludge. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Microalgae: Important Source of Biofuel Production By:Priti Raj Pandita
Fossil fuels accounted for 88% of the primary energy consumption, with oil (35% share), coal (29%) and natural gas (24%) as the major fuels, while nuclear energy and hydroelectricity account for 5% and 6% of the total primary energy consumption. Due to these consumption rates there is rapid depletion of fossil fuels which in turn leads to search for alternative sources of energy such as algae. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Application of Genetic Engineering in Bioremediation: Deinococcus Radiodurans By:Shivani Sharma
Bioremediation is basically a technique in which micro-organisms are utilized for the management of biological waste. Their metabolism is utilized for the removal of pollutants from the environment. Bioremediation can occur on its own which is natural attenuation or can occur artificially by addition of chemicals spurred on the microbes which is termed as biostimulation. Although not all the heavy >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Bioplastics - A Way Towards Sustainability By:Balaram Mohapatra
Over increasing population causing rapid industrialization and more use of petroleum based product which makes our environment unsuitable, less balanced and more toxic. The increasing use of plastics and their accumulation has further contributed to eco-pollution due to its non biodegradability. people now focusing on more reliable and eco friendly use of plastics derived from biological sources. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Plant Immune System: An Insight Towards Their Innate Immunity By:Sivashanmugam A
How do plant achieve immunity against Have you ever thought, how do plant achieve immunity against Phytopathogens? How do they achieve systemic immunity without circulatory system and mobile immune cells? This article, is an attempt to provide a bird's eye view to the above stated questions. Phytopathogens are microorganisms which specifically attacks the plants for their survival and .. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Metagenomics: New Challenges Ahead in Molecular Soil Ecology By:Dr. Suresh Kaushik
Metagenomics is the culture-independent analysis of a mixture of microbial genomes using an approach based either on expression or on sequencing. This involves isolating DNA from an environmental sample, cloning the DNA into a suitable vector, transforming the clones into a host bacterium and screening the resulting transformants. Two types of screening have been used to identify clones carrying desired traits from metagenomics libraries: sequenced based analysis and functional based analysis. It is the daunting task of understanding the genomics of uncultivated microorganisms or whole environmental genomes with respect to identifying the functions of genes as compared with a well-studied and easily cultivated microorganism. Metagemomics produces a snapshot of the microbial community genome at a specific point in time and space. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Search For Sustainable Sources of Biofuel - Need of the Hour By:Maitree Baral
The various sources of biofuels might be an answer to the looming energy crisis. The most important biofuel source holding immense potential is Cellulose methanol from cellulose. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
- Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry By:Dr. Suresh Kaushik
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a type of mass spectrometry which is capable of detecting metals and several non-metals at concentrations as low as one part in 1012 (part per trillion). This is achieved by ionizing the sample with inductively coupled plasma and then using a mass spectrometer to separate and quantify those ions. It is undoubtedly the fastest growing trace element technique available today. It allows determination of elements with atomic mass ranges 7 to 250 and its ability to carry out rapid multi-elements determination at the ultra-trace level have made it very popular in diverse range of applications areas including environment, geochemical, semiconductor, metallurgical, nuclear, chemical, climatic and biotechnology. >> Category: Environmental Biotechnology
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In recent years, the demand for the use of sustainable and eco-friendly environmental processes is rapidly growing subjected to economic, public, and legislation pressure. Biotechnology provides a plethora of opportunities for effectively addressing issues pertaining to the monitoring, assessment, modeling, and treatment of contaminated water, air, and solid waste streams. In this context, source tracking of environmental pollutants and process modeling using biological based methods are becoming increasingly important, mainly owing to the accuracy and robustness of such techniques. The different biotechniques available nowadays, thus, represent both well-established and novel (bio)technologies, although several aspects of their performance are still to be tested. For instance, the use of novel biocatalysts and reactor designs, the understanding of microbial community dynamics and mechanisms occurring within a (bio)reactor, and the assessment of the performance of (bio)reactors during long-term operation and its modeling. If these mechanisms are understood and the barriers are overcome, novel biotechniques will potentially change the way users rebuild technologies for the sustainable use of different biological processes for wastewater, air, and solid waste treatment.
This special issue received 34 research/review articles over a period of 6 months, of which 21 high-quality papers (62%) were accepted for publication following a double blind peer-review process. These accepted papers focus on the various fundamental and applied engineering aspects of different techniques and processes that have potential practical implications in emerging fields of environmental biotechnology. This special issue highlights certain challenging issues pertaining to environmental monitoring and pollution abatement that can be categorized into five thematic research areas.
Environmental Monitoring and Modeling. In developing countries, water, air, and soil pollution has become a persisting environmental problem due to rapid industrialization and urbanization. Using environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) it was observed that, during early stages of economic development in a particular region, the environment paid a high price for economic growth as the human race used technology to exploit all possible valuable resources. Nevertheless, in agricultural areas, N, P, and K compounds are easily transported by farmland drainage and surface water to valuable water resources resulting in the deterioration of water quality that warrants the use of novel biosensors to monitor water quality. Recently, it has been proposed that cellular-based biosensor technologies, that is, the bioelectric recognition assay (BERA), utilize live, functional cells in a gel matrix coupled with a sensor system that is able to measure changes in the cellular electric properties. Cells that are able to specifically interact with a target analyte produce a unique pattern of electrical potential as a result of their interaction with this analyte.
Concerning modeling, traditionally, the performance of many bioprocesses  has been modeled/predicted using process-based models that are based on mass balance principles, simple reaction kinetics, and a plug flow of water/air stream. An alternate modeling procedure consists of a data driven approach wherein the principles of artificial intelligence (AI) are applied with the help of neural networks [2, 3]. The concept of neural network modeling has widespread applications in the fields of applied biosciences and bioengineering. The following research papers (1–3) were accepted under this category.
“Environmental Kuznets curve analysis of the economic development and nonpoint source pollution in the Ningxia Yellow River irrigation districts in China” by C. Mao et al.
“Back propagation neural network model for predicting the performance of immobilized cell biofilters handling gas-phase hydrogen sulphide and ammonia” by E. R. Rene et al.
“Pesticide residue screening using a novel artificial neural network combined with a bioelectric cellular biosensor” by K. P. Ferentinos et al.
Pollutant Removal and Toxicity. Environmental pollutants such as heavy metals and pesticides are commonly present in water emanating from acid mine drainage or other industries and from agricultural runoffs. These toxic pollutants can accumulate in living organisms and produce adverse effect such as carcinogenicity and acute toxicity. Complete mineralization and/or removal of these pollutants and their toxic byproducts can be achieved using biological process that uses active bacterial/fungal/mixed microbial cultures . Microbial consortia have been shown to be more suitable for bioremediation of recalcitrant compounds such as pesticide residues, as their biodiversity supports environmental survival and increases the number of catabolic pathways available for contaminant biodegradation. In the case of heavy metal contaminated wastewaters, biosorption has emerged as a promising low-cost methodology wherein biological catalysts are employed to remove and recover heavy metals from aqueous solutions . The metal removal mechanism is a complex process that depends on the chemistry of metal ions, cell wall compositions of microorganisms, physiology of the organism, and physicochemical factors like pH, temperature, time, ionic strength, and metal concentration. The following papers (4–8) were selected for publication under this section of the special issue.
“Dissolution of arsenic minerals mediated by dissimilatory arsenate reducing bacteria: estimation of the physiological potential for arsenic mobilization” by D. Lukasz et al.
“Kinetics of molybdenum reduction to molybdenum blue by Bacillus sp. strain A. rzi” by A. R. Othman et al.
“The uptake mechanism of Cd(II), Cr(VI), Cu(II), Pb(II), and Zn(II) by mycelia and fruiting bodies of Galerina vittiformis” by D. Damodaran et al.
“Toxicity of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles on green alga Chlorella vulgaris” by L. Barhoumi and D. Dewez.
“Enhanced removal of a pesticides mixture by single cultures and consortia of free and immobilized Streptomyces strains” by M. S. Fuentes et al.
Biofuels Production. Biohydrogen production through anaerobic fermentation is a sustainable alternative for managing the recent (dogging) energy crisis and creating a sustainable green environment. Fermentative hydrogen production processes are technically feasible and economically cost-competitive and have large-scale commercialization implications [6, 7]. Besides some of the pure microbial species, that can be used to produce biofuels, as of late, it was shown that microbes present in the sediments of mangroves have the capability to yield biohydrogen. Mangrove sediments are inherently rich in organic content and offer the following advantages: flexible substrate utilization and the simplicity of handling, no major storage problems, minimal preculturing requirements, and sediments being available at low cost. Alternatively, the development of (bio)energy using marine and freshwater microalgae as a 3rd generation biomass feedstock has also been explored recently because microalgae can grow fast with high specific growth rates and have excellent CO2 absorption capacity and better regulation of lipid and sugar content under various culture conditions. Microalgae exhibit a high photosynthetic efficiency and a strong capacity to adapt to the environment (e.g., high salinity, heavy metal ion content, presence of toxicants, and high CO2 concentration). The following papers (9–11) describe the production of biohydrogen and biodiesel.
“Biohydrogen production and kinetic modeling using sediment microorganisms of Pichavaram mangroves, India” by P. Mullai et al.
“Production of biodiesel from Chlorella sp. enriched with oyster shell extracts” by C. S. Choi et al.
“Enhancement of biodiesel production from marine alga, Scenedesmus sp. through in situ transesterification process associated with acidic catalyst” by G. V. Kim et al.
Microbial Products for the Environment. With increasing concern for the natural environment, biosynthetic and biodegradable biopolymers such as poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) have attracted great interest because of their excellent biodegradability and being environmentally benign and sustainable. The high production cost of PHB can be curtailed by strain development, improving fermentation and separation processes, and using inexpensive carbon source. Due to recent advancements in fermentation technology and allied sciences, alternative purification solutions are under investigation, among which microbiological ways of utilization of byproducts are very interesting and promising. Such a solution could result in better overall process productivity and facilitate the downstream processing. Concerning the use of enzymes, owing to its lignolytic enzyme system, the white-rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium has been applied in many bioremediation studies . Its ability to degrade a variety of pollutants is thus related to the production of lignin peroxidase and manganese peroxidase, two lignin-modifying enzymes generally expressed under nitrogen-limited culture conditions, as well as to the intracellular cytochrome P450 system. Another practical aspect worth highlighting in this section is the use of an enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) for phosphorus removal from wastewaters. In EBPR, alternative anaerobic and aerobic phases are adopted and polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) with excess phosphorus accumulation ability can be enriched. During the anaerobic phase, PAOs take up organic carbons such as acetate and propionate and store them as intracellular polymers such as PHBs, with polyphosphate as the energy source and glycogen as the reducing power source. The metabolism of PAOs and dynamics of polymers under different organic carbon concentrations deserves in-depth examination in order to elucidate the function of polymers in EBPR. Investigating the dynamics of polymers under endogenous respiration conditions will also provide solutions for controlling and adjusting the EBPR performance under low organic carbon induced shock conditions. The following papers (12–17) were accepted for publication under the theme of “microbial production for the environment.”
“Degradation of diuron by Phanerochaete chrysosporium: role of ligninolytic enzymes and cytochrome P450” by J. da Silva Coelho-Moreira et al.
“Dynamics of intracellular polymers in enhanced biological phosphorus removal processes under different organic carbon concentrations” by L. Xing et al.
“Microbial purification of postfermentation medium after 1,3-PD production from raw glycerol” by D. Szymanowska-Powałowska et al.
“Rhizobium pongamiae sp. nov. from root nodules of Pongamia pinnata” by V. Kesari et al.
“Persistent organic pollutants induced protein expression and immunocrossreactivity by Stenotrophomonas maltophilia PM102: a prospective bioremediating candidate” by P. Mukherjee and P. Roy.
“Poly β-hydroxybutyrate production by Bacillus subtilis NG220 using sugar industry wastewater” by G. Singh et al.
Eco-Efficient Bioprocesses for the Environment. Nutrient-rich wastewater streams when discharged into receiving water bodies often lead to undesirable problems such as algal blooms, eutrophication, and oxygen deficit. For such commonly reported situations in many developing countries, advanced treatment technologies cannot be applied to treat wastewater due to the requirement of high energy and skilled labor force, high operating and maintenance costs. Under such conditions, low-cost natural treatment systems can be effectively used not only for waste treatment, but also for conserving biological communities in poor nations of the world . For the (bio)treatment of slaughterhouse wastewater, sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) were recommended as one of the best options because they are capable of removing organic carbon, nutrients, and suspended solids from wastewater in a single tank and also have low capital and operational costs. In order to maintain the long-term performance of bioreactors (e.g., stirred tank bioreactor), various strategies to improve the oxygen transfer in bioreactors have been proposed, for instance, dispersing a nonaqueous, organic, second liquid-phase that is immiscible to the system. The presence of this organic phase modifies the medium in such a way that it could carry more oxygen and this approach was found successful in the past. The organic phase has strong affinity for oxygen so that it can increase the apparent solubility of oxygen in water, which in turn increases the specific activity of microorganisms, yielding high removal of target pollutant in bioreactors. In this special issue, four papers (18–21) deal with the operational characteristics of natural and conventional bioprocesses and their advantages to treat specific industrial wastewaters.
“Enhancement of oxygen mass transfer and gas holdup using palm oil in stirred tank bioreactors with xanthan solutions as simulated viscous fermentation broths” by S. M. Sauid et al.
“Treatment of slaughter house wastewater in a sequencing batch reactor: performance evaluation and biodegradation kinetics” by P. Kundu et al.
“Performance study of chromium (VI) removal in presence of phenol in a continuous packed bed reactor by Escherichia coli isolated from East Calcutta wetlands” by B. Chakraborty et al.
“Natural treatment systems as sustainable ecotechnologies for the developing countries” by Q. Mahmood et al.
It is quite apparent from the discussions and conclusions made by the authors from the papers published in this special issue, as well as other recently published scientific literature related to environmental research, that there is an urgent need to translate most of the lab-based research into field-based research in order to witness sustainable solutions to persisting environmental problems. Future research should focus/address crucial issues pertaining to (i) biomarkers for environmental pollutants, (ii) development of new biosensors for environmental monitoring, (iii) development of new biocatalysts (bacteria, fungi, yeast, and algae) for environmental applications, (iv) development of innovative bioreactors for wastewater and air pollution control, and (v) studies on the socioeconomic implications and technological evaluation of new bioprocesses.
We firmly believe that the collection of papers presented in this special issue will stimulate interest within the global research community and would help peers in their research pursuits.
We are grateful to all the authors for their generous support and dedication and for submitting high-quality papers to this special issue. The final outcome of this special issue would not have been possible without the support of expert reviewers for contributing their knowledge and providing critical insight during the review process. We would also like to thank the respective organizations, IIT Guwahati, India, and UNESCO-IHE, The Netherlands, for supporting our editorial dissemination and outreach activities.
Eldon R. Rene
1. Rene ER, López ME, Veiga MC, Kennes C. Steady- and transient-state operation of a two-stage bioreactor for the treatment of a gaseous mixture of hydrogen sulphide, methanol and α-pinene. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology. 2010;85:336–348.
2. Rene ER, Maliyekkal SM, Philip L, Swaminathan T. Back-propagation neural network for performance prediction in trickling bed air biofilter. International Journal of Environment and Pollution. 2006;28(3-4):382–401.
3. Rene ER, Kim JH, Park HS. An intelligent neural network model for evaluating performance of immobilized cell biofilter treating hydrogen sulphide vapors. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 2008;5(3):287–296.
4. Sahoo NK, Pakshirajan K, Ghosh PK. Biodegradation of 4-bromophenol by Arthrobacter chlorophenolicus A6 in a newly designed packed bed reactor. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. 2013;115(2):182–188.[PubMed]
5. Pakshirajan K, Izquierdo M, Lens PNL. Arsenic(III) removal at low concentrations by biosorption using Phanerochaete chrysosporium pellets. Separation Science and Technology. 2013;48:1111–1112.
6. Pakshirajan K, Mal J. Biohydrogen production using native carbon monoxide converting anaerobic microbial consortium predominantly Petrobacter sp. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 2013;38:16020–16028.
7. Mullai P, Yogeswari MK, Sridevi K. Optimisation and enhancement of biohydrogen production using nickel nanoparticles—a novel approach. Bioresource Technology. 2013;141:212–219.[PubMed]
8. Pakshirajan K, Kheria S. Continuous treatment of coloured industry wastewater using immobilized Phanerochaete chrysosporium in a rotating biological contactor reactor. Journal of Environmental Management. 2012;101:118–123.[PubMed]
9. Tu YT, Chiang PC, Yang J, Chen SH, Kao CM. Application of a constructed wetland system for polluted stream remediation. Journal of Hydrology. 2014;510:70–78.