Bioremediation: a novel approach to food waste management
Bioremediation is a general concept that includes all those processes and actions that take place in order to biotransform an environment, already altered by contaminants, to its original status. Although the processes that can be used in order to achieve the desirable results vary, they still have the same principles; the use of microorganisms or their enzymes, that are either indigenous and are stimulated by the addition of nutrients or optimization of conditions, or are seeded into the soil. There are several advantages of the implementation of such methods but mainly they have to do with the lack of interference with the ecology of the ecosystem. This article presents general bioremediation principles and techniques along with representative examples of their use both in the laboratory and industry and the ways that they work and give results in the five main areas of the food industry where bioremediation is applicable. Although the application of bioremediation to the food industry is not new, developments in microbiology and genetic engineering have given a valuable instrument to scientists to deal with contaminants in the environment. Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, cleaning chemicals and chemicals used in the food chain are among the new contaminants which have entered the biogeochemical cycles. Bioremediating Methods transform the contaminants into substances that can be absorbed and used by the autotrophic organisms with no toxic effect on them. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.