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ISSN: 2155-6199
Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation

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Biopurification System between Research and Technology Transfer

Laura Coppola* and Marco Trevisan
Istituto di Chimica Agraria ed Ambientale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, via Emilia Parmense 84, Piacenza, Italy
Corresponding Author : Laura Coppola
Istituto di Chimica Agraria ed Ambientale
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
via Emilia Parmense 84, Piacenza, Italy
Tel: +39 0523 599345
E-mail: [email protected]
Received June 27, 2012; Accepted June 27, 2012; Published June 29, 2012
Citation: Coppola L, Trevisan M (2012) Biopurification System between Research and Technology Transfer. J Bioremed Biodeg 3:e118. doi: 10.4172/2155-6199.1000e118
Copyright: © 2012 Coppola L. This is an open-a ccess article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Keywords
Pesticide; Water quality; Biobed; Point source contamination; Organic biomixture
Nowadays there is a general awareness about the effects of some products and sub-products from different processes and their release and disposal to the environment. The water contamination by agricultural products presents an important environmental concern, which requires evaluation of water resource policy at all levels [1]. Thus, appropriate measures to protect aquatic environment and drinking water supplies from the impact of pesticides should be proposed.
Monitoring studies at regional/catchments scale have revealed a contribution of point sources to the total pesticide load in waters body of 40-90% [2]. These include accidental pesticides losses during pesticides handling, leakages of the spray equipment, faulty equipments, spray leftovers and technical rest volumes in the tank, rinsing water from cleaning internally or externally the spray equipment.
One possible strategy to reduce the input from point sources is to increase awareness of the farmers with regard to pesticide handling and to introduce mitigation measures on this type of contamination.
Low-cost system known as the “biobed” has been proposed as practical alternative to minimize the risks of point contamination by pesticides [3]. The biobed consist in a biopurification system based on a bioremediation strategy which uses microbes for the removal of contaminants.
The first biopurification system proposed in Sweden consisted in a biologically active substrate, which retains pesticides into the organic matter and enhance their microbial degradation. In its original design, biobed consisted of a 60 cm deep pit in the ground with a clay layer in the bottom (10 cm) and the remaining volume filled with a biomix. The typical biomix consists of straw, topsoil, and peat (50-25-25% v/v). The straw stimulates the growth of lignin-degrading fungi and the activity of ligninolytic enzymes, which can degrade many different pesticides. The soil provides sorption capacity and other degrading microorganisms, and the peat contributes to high sorption capacity and regulates the humidity of the system. A grass layer covering the system provides evapotranspiration and regulates humidity [3,4]. Torstensson [5] have demonstrated that the original Swedish biobed is able to degrade most of the applied pesticides within 1 year.
The efficiency and simplicity of biobed system have generated interest in many other countries that have developed and adapt its original design to the different agronomic practices, climatic conditions and availability of organic substrates [6-13]. Extensively has been studied on the replacement of some of the original materials in the biomixture (table 1) because it can change the performance of the system [9,14,15]. According to these studies, the choice of organic material is crucial, since the biomixture efficiency depends on the adsorption ability and on the presence of a microbial biomass activity, genotypic and phenotypic versatile for the degradation. Studies demonstrated that different carbon source could affect the degradation of pesticides probably because qualitatively appropriate microbial activity is also required [9]. Indeed, it has been observed that lignin structure, cellulose and hemicelluloses levels, monomeric content and composition are some of the factors that can have an effect on the ability of the biomixture to degrade pesticides because they affect the level of lignin-degrading enzymes [9].
Currently, there are more than 1500 biobeds in practical use in Sweden [4], 2000 in France and 226 in UK. Demonstration and pilot biopurification system have been built all around the world; there are more than 160 experimental biopurification system in Europe and around 850 between America and Africa [16].
Further studies are going on with the aim to explore an alternative uses of the biopurification system in the agro-industrial sectors Currently, in Sweden, biobeds are proposed exclusively for the treatment of pesticide spills when filling and storing the spraying equipment, while in other countries its use have been extended in retain and degrade pesticides originating from sprayer washing [17]. Recent applications of the system are exploring the possibility to treat high pesticide loads at both pre- and post-harvest level [18].
However, additional research could be done to characterize bacterial biodiversity and bacterial adaptation processes with the aim of improving biopurification system functioning.
 
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