Research Topic

Bioremediation and its Potential for an Urbanized World

About this Research Topic

Bioremediation utilizes living organisms such as plants, microbes and their enzymatic products to reduce toxicity in xenobiotic compounds. Microorganisms are versatile and capable of rapid adjustment during environmental changes and can therefore serve to protect their ecosystems from deterioration. Microbial-mediated bioremediation is cost effective, sustainable and in-situ application is easily implemented. Either naturally occurring metabolic activity can be utilized during bioremediation for the degradation, transformation or accumulation of many substances or microbial augmentation with non-native species can be effective. Despite the perceived low potential for biological degradation for some recalcitrant compounds, successful steps towards bioremediation have been identified recently including the bacterial bioremediation of metal-contaminated waste and the successful use of bioremediation strategies for radionuclides. There is still much to be discovered about biota-mediated degradation pathways, yet these systems can be tricky to manage and have struggled to compete with chemical and physical processing; so what is the future for these processes?

Globally, bioremediation processes have yet to be fully realized as full-scale options for waste treatment, in particular for solid wastes. The current niche for these processes appears to be for hazardous substances and yet there is potential for much more. Biological treatment systems are well-established and successful processes for domestic and industrial wastewater applications, and yet, this has not been translated for other wastes. Advances are required in the design and operation of large-scale bioremediation processes with further details on control aspects, breakdown kinetics and optimization. The identification of key limiting factors, such as carbon concentrations, moisture and pH and the exploration of aerobic versus anaerobic systems is required for other waste types. Equally important is the design of the whole treatment stream, akin to an entire wastewater treatment plant which includes a succession of processes (or a treatment train) to enable breakdown. By providing evidence of successful scale-up from lab to full-scale and demonstrating effective human health protection, we may enable further adoption of these processes in an urban environment.

We welcome submissions to focus on the following topics:
• Recent advances in implementing bioremediation technologies in urban areas.
• Consideration of single species, communities and whole ecosystems for remediation as well as bioaugmentation using endemic and/or non-native species, especially those which allow in-situ treatment to reclaim land for future urban development.
• Design and operation of bioreactors using anaerobic, aerobic or facultative microorganisms and determination of critical conditions for optimization.
• Practical experiences of experimental scale-up to full scale treatment which includes consideration for the protection of public health and safety during operation and provides opportunities for adoption in urban areas.
• Evidence of timeframes for acclimatization and standardized methods for determining degradation rates which may predict likely land reuse potential for urban development.
• Suggestions for alternative processes and/or process trains for bioremediation to accelerate timeframes and ensure public health protection.
• Design and operation of full-scale bioremediation for the treatment of a wide variety of substances in liquid and/or solid form.
• Evidence of new possibilities for urban reclamation via in-situ bioremediation techniques.


Keywords: Ecosystem Pollution, Urban Regeneration, Waste Treatment, Solid Waste, Bioremediation Technology, Bioaugmentation, Public Health and Safety, Urban Reclamation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Bioremediation utilizes living organisms such as plants, microbes and their enzymatic products to reduce toxicity in xenobiotic compounds. Microorganisms are versatile and capable of rapid adjustment during environmental changes and can therefore serve to protect their ecosystems from deterioration. Microbial-mediated bioremediation is cost effective, sustainable and in-situ application is easily implemented. Either naturally occurring metabolic activity can be utilized during bioremediation for the degradation, transformation or accumulation of many substances or microbial augmentation with non-native species can be effective. Despite the perceived low potential for biological degradation for some recalcitrant compounds, successful steps towards bioremediation have been identified recently including the bacterial bioremediation of metal-contaminated waste and the successful use of bioremediation strategies for radionuclides. There is still much to be discovered about biota-mediated degradation pathways, yet these systems can be tricky to manage and have struggled to compete with chemical and physical processing; so what is the future for these processes?

Globally, bioremediation processes have yet to be fully realized as full-scale options for waste treatment, in particular for solid wastes. The current niche for these processes appears to be for hazardous substances and yet there is potential for much more. Biological treatment systems are well-established and successful processes for domestic and industrial wastewater applications, and yet, this has not been translated for other wastes. Advances are required in the design and operation of large-scale bioremediation processes with further details on control aspects, breakdown kinetics and optimization. The identification of key limiting factors, such as carbon concentrations, moisture and pH and the exploration of aerobic versus anaerobic systems is required for other waste types. Equally important is the design of the whole treatment stream, akin to an entire wastewater treatment plant which includes a succession of processes (or a treatment train) to enable breakdown. By providing evidence of successful scale-up from lab to full-scale and demonstrating effective human health protection, we may enable further adoption of these processes in an urban environment.

We welcome submissions to focus on the following topics:
• Recent advances in implementing bioremediation technologies in urban areas.
• Consideration of single species, communities and whole ecosystems for remediation as well as bioaugmentation using endemic and/or non-native species, especially those which allow in-situ treatment to reclaim land for future urban development.
• Design and operation of bioreactors using anaerobic, aerobic or facultative microorganisms and determination of critical conditions for optimization.
• Practical experiences of experimental scale-up to full scale treatment which includes consideration for the protection of public health and safety during operation and provides opportunities for adoption in urban areas.
• Evidence of timeframes for acclimatization and standardized methods for determining degradation rates which may predict likely land reuse potential for urban development.
• Suggestions for alternative processes and/or process trains for bioremediation to accelerate timeframes and ensure public health protection.
• Design and operation of full-scale bioremediation for the treatment of a wide variety of substances in liquid and/or solid form.
• Evidence of new possibilities for urban reclamation via in-situ bioremediation techniques.


Keywords: Ecosystem Pollution, Urban Regeneration, Waste Treatment, Solid Waste, Bioremediation Technology, Bioaugmentation, Public Health and Safety, Urban Reclamation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

17 October 2020 Abstract
14 February 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

17 October 2020 Abstract
14 February 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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