Research Topic

Marine Microbes and Bioremediation

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Oceans are an important resource. However, due to various factors including pressure from economic development on a local and global scale, and an increase in the riverine outflow of land pollutants, pollution levels in marine environments, especially in developing countries, are steadily increasing. The ...

Oceans are an important resource. However, due to various factors including pressure from economic development on a local and global scale, and an increase in the riverine outflow of land pollutants, pollution levels in marine environments, especially in developing countries, are steadily increasing. The marine environment is subject to pollution by various chemicals, such as petroleum hydrocarbons, xenobiotics and heavy metals.

In marine environments, bioremediation can be an effective and attractive biotechnology to decrease the level of pollution. Bioremediation is a waste management technique that involves treatment using naturally occurring organisms to break down hazardous substances into less toxic or non toxic substances. Bioremediation utilizes the metabolic ability of the microorganisms to mineralize or transform organic contaminants into less harmful substances which can be integrated into natural biogeochemical cycles. It is non-destructive, treatment-, and cost-effective and a logistically favourable clean-up technology.

Marine environments vary in a array of parameters such as temperature, pH, salinity, currents precipitation regimes and wind patterns. The vast diversity of marine microorganisms is significant to the functional role they play in the marine environment. They respond very quickly to changing environmental patterns which makes them ideal for potential bioremediation purposes. Thus, the microbes isolated from the marine environments may be well suited for utilization in bioremediation of heavy metals, hydrocarbon and many other recalcitrant compounds. The use of marine microorganisms for biodegradation of various natural and synthetic substances, thereby reducing the level of hazardous compounds, is increasingly drawing attention because of the huge potential of these isolates for environmental restoration. Though marine microorganisms are better adapted to rapidly changing environmental conditions, little is known regarding the mechanism of resistance to the noxious environment.

Hence, in this Research Topic, we wish to centralize and review contributions, ideas and comments related to bioremediation and corresponding applications in marine environments. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

(1) Removal of heavy metals.
Heavy metal pollution is one of the most important environmental concerns due to various natural and anthropogenic activities. Marine microorganisms solve these problems as they do not produce any byproducts, and they are highly efficient even at low metal concentrations.

(2) Degradation of PAHs and other recalcitrants.
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons are ubiquitous in nature and are of great environmental concern due to their persistence, toxicity in nature. Many marine bacteria have been reported to have the potential for bioremediation of the same in the process of metabolism to produce CO2 and metabolic intermediates, thus gaining energy and carbon for cell growth.

(3) Petroleum and diesel biodegradation.
Crude oil is the most important organic pollutant in the marine environment. These organic pollutants can be degraded by the oil-eating microbes present in the marine environment which are used for their carbon and energy source.

(4) Degradation of plastic.
Several broad classes of plastic used in marine environments for fishing, packing, etc. which ultimately pollutes the environment. Some marine microorganisms can develop the mechanism to degrade the plastic to nontoxic forms.


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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