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Bioremediation techniques–classification based on site of application: principles, advantages, limitations and prospects

Azubuike, Christopher Chibueze, Chikere, Chioma Blaise, Okpokwasili, Gideon Chijioke
World journal of microbiology & biotechnology 2016 v.32 no.11 pp. 180
bioaugmentation, energy, environmental factors, equipment, greenhouse gases, heavy metals, humans, hydrocarbons, industrialization, pesticides, pollutants, public health, radioactive waste
Environmental pollution has been on the rise in the past few decades owing to increased human activities on energy reservoirs, unsafe agricultural practices and rapid industrialization. Amongst the pollutants that are of environmental and public health concerns due to their toxicities are: heavy metals, nuclear wastes, pesticides, green house gases, and hydrocarbons. Remediation of polluted sites using microbial process (bioremediation) has proven effective and reliable due to its eco-friendly features. Bioremediation can either be carried out ex situ or in situ, depending on several factors, which include but not limited to cost, site characteristics, type and concentration of pollutants. Generally, ex situ techniques apparently are more expensive compared to in situ techniques as a result of additional cost attributable to excavation. However, cost of on-site installation of equipment, and inability to effectively visualize and control the subsurface of polluted sites are of major concerns when carrying out in situ bioremediation. Therefore, choosing appropriate bioremediation technique, which will effectively reduce pollutant concentrations to an innocuous state, is crucial for a successful bioremediation project. Furthermore, the two major approaches to enhance bioremediation are biostimulation and bioaugmentation provided that environmental factors, which determine the success of bioremediation, are maintained at optimal range. This review provides more insight into the two major bioremediation techniques, their principles, advantages, limitations and prospects.