Factors limiting bioremediation technologies


The use of microorganisms to destroy, or reduce the concentration of, hazardous wastes on a contaminated site is called bioremediation. Such a biological treatment system has various applications, including, clean up of contaminated sites such as water, soils, sludges, and waste streams. The treatment of the Alaskan shoreline of Prince Williams Sound after the oil spill of Exxon Valdez in 1989 is one common example in which bioremediation methods got public attention. There are numerous other success stories of bioremediation in cleaning up chemical spills, leaking underground storage tanks of gasoline, and many toxic industrial e ‚uents. This paper outlines the various factors, including scientic, non-scientic, and regulatory, that limit the use of bioremediation technologies.


R. Boopathy. (2000). Factors limiting bioremediation technologies. Bioresource technology: 74; p63-67.  dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0960-8524(99)00144-3.


This brief article reviews current techniques in bioremediation, as well as scientific and non-scientific factors that limit the progression and implementation of bioremediation technologies. What most interests me is the “Non-technical Criteria” section of the review, where the author details political and economic factors. Discussing solutions to these economic, social, and political problems should be a priority for those of us studying science. Our research wont be very useful if it’s implementation is in question.

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