Author(s): Paul D, Pandey G, Pandey J, Jain RK
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Abstract Biological methods for decontamination promise an improved substitute for ineffective and costly physico-chemical remediation methods, although so far only a fraction of the total microbial diversity (i.e. the culturable fraction with metabolic potential) has been harnessed for this purpose. Exploring and exploiting the "overlooked" genetic resource might ameliorate concerns associated with the degradation of recalcitrant and xenobiotic pollutants that are not degraded or only poorly degraded by known culturable bacteria. Recent advances in the molecular genetics of biodegradation and in knowledge-based methods of rational protein modification provide insight into the development of "designer biocatalysts" for environmental restoration. The application of such genetically engineered microorganisms (GEMs) in the environment has been limited, however, owing to the risks associated with uncontrolled growth and proliferation of the introduced biocatalyst and horizontal gene transfer. Programming rapid death of the biocatalyst soon after the depletion of the pollutant could minimize the risks in developing these technologies for successful bioremediation.
This article was published in Trends Biotechnol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation