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Microbial functions for degradation/transformation of pollutants

“Bacteria represent the great success story of life's pathway. They occupy a wider domain of environments and span a broader range of biochemistries than any other group. They are adaptable, indestructible and astoundingly diverse. We cannot even imagine how anthropogenic intervention might threaten their extinction, although we worry about our impact on nearly every other form of life…. This is the 'age of bacteria'---as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.” -Stephen Jay Gould (1994).

Bacteria are found everywhere on the planet, from deserts in Antarctica to deep-sea thermal vents, from high up in the atmosphere to several kilometers into the Earth’s crust. Their metabolism is amazingly versatile and they can grow in a wide range of environmental conditions. As humans, we depend on bacteria for our existence; for example they colonize our skin and digestive tract as part of our immune system, certain bacteria in our gut provide us with vitamin K, and bacteria were initially responsible for the oxygenation of the Earth’s atmosphere. The versatility of bacteria can be harnessed in a number of biotechnological applications. For example, microorganisms can be used for production of substances such as insulin in the pharmaceutical industry, for manufacture of biodegradable plastics and as sources of novel enzymes with activities at temperature extremes. The nutritional versatility of microorganisms can also be exploited for biodegradation of environmental pollutants. This process is called bioremediation and is based on the capability of certain microorganisms to metabolize toxic pollutants, obtaining energy and biomass in the process. Ideally, the chemicals are transformed into harmless compounds such as carbon dioxide and water. Harnessing microorganisms to degrade harmful compounds is an attractive option for clean up of polluted environments. However, despite the apparent simplicity of microorganisms, the different strategies for dealing with pollutants are as diverse as the organisms themselves. The process of biodegradation must therefore be investigated on several levels; biochemical, genetic and physiological.

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  • BC AV CR
  • Budvar
  • CAVD
  • CZBA
  • Eco Tend
  • Envisan Gem
  • Gentrend
  • JAIP
  • Jihočeská univerzita
  • Madeta
  • Forestina