Research Output
Environmental Pollution and Restoration: A Role for Bioremediation
  With greater understanding of microbial diversity and the development of bioengineering, bioremediation is taking its place as a cost-effective technique in integrated environmental restoration efforts. The major reasons for the control of water and soil pollution and the consideration of bioremediation are first and foremost, public health concerns; second, environmental conservation; and finally, the cost of decontamination. A major aim of bioremediation, or any other remediation technology, must be the reduction of toxicity associated with the environmental contaminant, that is, the abatement of environmental impact. Bioremediation solutions can be used to reduce the impacts of environmental persistence of contaminants and thus to alleviate problems associated with chronic toxicity. The broadest classification of environmental pollutants is into two categories: organic and inorganic. Quantitatively, the organic pollutants of most concern are the hydrocarbons in their various forms. The most common are petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, surfactants, biocides, and a host of other compounds specific to particular industries, e.g., nitroaromatics from munitions. Fortunately, many of these pollutants are biodegradable by microorganisms in soils and waters. The biodegradability of environmental pollutants, and hence the degree of persistence of contaminants in natural environments, is influenced by various factors, most important of which are the chemical structure of the contaminant, the presence of a viable microbial population able to degrade the contaminant(s), and environmental conditions suitable for microbial biodegradative activities.

  • Type:

    Book Chapter

  • Date:

    01 January 2005

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    American Society for Microbiology

  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    363.7 Environmental pollution


Philp, J. C., Bamforth, S., Singleton, I., & Atlas, R. M. (2004). Environmental Pollution and Restoration: A Role for Bioremediation. In R. M. Atlas, & J. Philp (Eds.), Bioremediation, 1-48. Washington, D.C.: American Society for Microbiology. doi:10.1128/9781555817596.ch1


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