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ENGINEERING ENZYMES FOR  Contaminated soil and groundwater

BIOREMEDIATION are treated onsite without having to

dig, pump, and transport them
elsewhere for treatment.
Bioremediation  Few (if any) waste by-products are
created as microbes change the
 “Remediate" means to solve a
harmful chemicals into small amounts
problem, and "bio-remediate" means
of water and gases.
to use biological organisms to solve an
 Although natural microorganisms
environmental problem.
collectively exhibit remarkable
 It is the use of microbes to clean up evolutionary capabilities to adapt to a
contaminated soil and groundwater. wide range of chemicals, natural
(United States Environmental evolution occurs at a relatively slow
Protection Agency, EPA)
rate, particularly when the acquisition
 It stimulates the growth of certain of multiple catalytic activities is
microbes that use contaminants as a necessary.
source of food and energy (i.e.
 Contaminants treated: oil and other
Types of bioremediation
petroleum products, solvents, and
pesticides.  Phytoremediation
 Bioventing
 Bioleaching
Is it safe?  Landfarming
 Bioreactor
 Yes, it is very safe.
 Composting
 This is because it relies on microbes
 Bioaugmentation
that live naturally in soil and
 Rhizofiltration
groundwater that pose no threat to
 Biostimulation
people at the site or in the community.
(No chemicals used)
 Microbes typically die off once
contamination and the conditions Classes of bioremediation
needed for bioremediation are gone.  In-situ
 The waste itself can then be recycled  Ex-situ
when the waste is treated, and the
contamination neutralized or
removed. (Unlike chemical methods How can bioremediation be effective?
that still create waste that cannot be
used and must be stored somewhere)  Suitable kinds of organisms that can
 For example, the nutrients added to biodegrade all the contaminants.
make microbes grow are commonly  Enough oxygen to support aerobic
used on lawns and gardens, and only biodegradation.
enough nutrients to promote  Soil moisture should be from 50–70%
bioremediation are added. of the water holding capacity of the
 Samples of soil and groundwater are soil.
tested regularly for maintenance.  Nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, and
other nutrients are necessary to
support good microbial growth.
Why use it?  Appropriate temperatures for
microbial growth. (0–40˚C)
 Does not require as much equipment,  pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.
labour, or energy as some clean-up
methods. (It can be cheaper)
 The ever-increasing information
regarding the structure and function of
Genetic Engineering enzymes and pathways involved in
 Several genetic engineering biodegradation of recalcitrant
pollutants offers opportunities for
approaches have been developed in
improving enzymes or entire pathways
the past several years that have
by genetic engineering. Control
proven useful in introducing/evolving mechanism and enzyme properties
the desired properties for different bio can be tailored by site-directed
degradative pathways or enzymes. mutagenesis which is often guided by
computer-assisted modelling of the
three-dimensional protein structures.
Engineering microbes for improved
 Perhaps the most powerful and
promising utility of DNA shuffling is in
Bioadsorbents for heavy metal removal the cross-breeding of genes between
diverse classes of species because of
 The discharge of heavy metals from the extended sequence space that can
agricultural, industrial, and military be explored.
operations has serious adverse effects  The optimization of an entire
on the environment. biodegradative pathway is more likely
 Conventional technologies, such as to be achieved by a directed evolution
precipitation-filtration, ion exchange, process than by rational design, which
reverse osmosis, oxidation-reduction, would depend on a vast set of often
incomplete structural and biochemical
and membrane separation, are often
information on all the enzymes
inadequate to reduce heavy metal
concentrations in wastewater to
acceptable regulatory standards. Malaysian Industry
 Recent research has focused on the  IOI Lipid Enzymtec
development of novel bioadsorbents -IOI Lipid is involved in the
with increased affinity, capacity, and research, development,
selectivity for target metals. production and commercialization
 Higher organisms respond to the of enzymatic products utilizing
presence of heavy metals with the enzyme modification and
production of metallothioneins (MTs). purification technology.
 MTs are cysteine-rich proteins that
 PureCircle
bind metal ions (cadmium, lead,
- PureCircle is the world’s
mercury and copper) and sequester
leading producer and
them in biologically inactive forms. marketer of high purity stevia
Setback: Limited metal uptake. ingredients and leads the
industry with the
Solutions to this setback development of a sustainable,
vertically integrated supply
 Alter the expression of MTs on the cell chain operating across four
surface. continents.
 Expression of the hybrid proteins
increased Cd2+ binding by 15–20 fold.  All Cosmos Industries
 Even non-viable cells could be used for -The Bio-fertilisers are
metal accumulation and desorption. manufactured through synthesis
 Another solution is to simultaneously of organic waste materials with
express the corresponding metal presence of microbes to
differentiate their fertiliser and
transport system with MTs.
gives added advantage over
inorganic chemical fertilisers.
Protein engineering for improved