An Introduction to Bioremediation and its Applications

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Courtesy of HPI Processes, Inc.

A variety of toxic chemicals, metals, and effluents are created and used in industrial processes. These elements need to be degraded to ensure that they do not harm the environment when disposed. A specialized process and equipment are required to perform this task. This is where bioremediation comes in.

What is Bioremediation, and what are its Types?

In simple terms, bioremediation is a process that utilizes microorganisms like fungi, algae, bacteria, and others to degrade toxic waste from the environment. These microorganisms are known are bioremediators. Bioremediation equipment like HPIPRO’s CLB Modular Bio-System for Recycling or Discharging to Sanitary Sewer is designed to treat and recycle wastewater, which consists of high organic content.

Basically, there are two types of bioremediation – natural and intrinsic. Bioremediation can be performed in many ways:

  • Bioleaching: Using bacteria to dissolve metals.
  • Bio-venting: Using microorganisms to degrade organic elements in unsaturated soil.
  • Bioreacting: A system that degrades contaminants in soil and groundwater.
  • Composting: Process of recycling decomposed organic materials into usable soil.
  • Land farming: Contaminated soil is mixed with bulking nutrients and agents.
  • Mycoremediation: Process of using fungi to absorb contaminants in an environment.
  • Bioabsorption: The tissues and organs of microorganisms are used to absorb toxic substances.
  • Bio-augmentation: Adding bacteria or other microorganism to increase the speed of contaminant degradation.
  • Rhizofiltration: A form of phytoremediation. Water is filtered through a group of roots to remove toxic substances.
  • Phytoremediation: Using live plants to remove contaminants from soil, sludge, surface and groundwater.

Industrial Application Example of Bioremediation
Bioremediation can be used in a variety of applications and industries. A few industrial application examples are provided below.

  • Leather Production: Tanneries produce heavy metals, which in turn produce toxic oxides. The oxides can be the cause of diseases like asthma, lung cancer, paralysis, brain damage, etc. Algae can be used to degrade the metals to reduce the production of the oxides.
  • Agriculture: When it comes to agriculture, the use fertilizers and other chemicals can result in small mercury deposits. Microorganisms like bacteria can be genetically modified to perform bioremediation, and absorb the mercury.
  • Industrial Cleaning: Bioremediation allows for the absorption of chemicals from cleaning fluids, thus ensuring a pollution free environment.
  • Waste Treatment: Bioremediation is a natural process that can be an alternative to incineration processes, which consume a large amount of electricity and energy.
  • Industrial: Isopods, protozoans, earthworms, and other organisms are used to perform bioremediation to clean soil and water of noxious elements and industrial effluents.

The above points prove that bioremediation is a natural, eco-friendly, efficient and reusable process, and can be used in most industrial applications. Not only can it be used to destroy chemicals, heavy metals, but also reduce their effects on people, nature, and wildlife. HPIPRO offers two bioremediation systems. These are the CLB Modular Bio-System for Recycling or Discharging to Sanitary Sewer, and the PM-1000 Automatic System for Bioremediation Pit Management.

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