Bioremediation is the technological process whereby biological systems are harnessed to effect the clean-up of environmental pollutants. Currently, microbial systems are most widely employed in bioremediation programmes, generally in the treatment of soils and waters contaminated with organic pollutants. Micro-organisms have a huge metabolic repertoire that enables them to degrade a panoply of organic pollutants and in many cases the complex biochemistry and molecular biology of the catabolic pathways involved have been unravelled (e.g. Gibson, 1984; Frantz , 1987; Evans & Fuchs, 1988; Burlage , 1989; Abramowicz, 1990; Assinder & Williams, 1990; Chaudhry & Chapalamadugu, 1991; Cerniglia, 1992; Knackmuss, 1996). Despite valuable basic knowledge on the mechanisms of pollutant bio-degradation, bioremediation has yet to be accepted as a routine treatment technology and the environmental industry is wary of applying bioremediation for the treatment of contaminated sites.


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