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Biofilm mediated decontamination of pollutants from the environment

1 Department of Microbiology, Adamas University, Kolkata 700126, West Bengal, India
2 Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, NIAID/NIH/HHS, Bethesda, MD, USA

Special Issues: Biofilm engineering - Harnessing the power of beneficial biofilms

In this review, we highlight beneficial use of microbial biofilms in remediation of environmental pollutants by bioremediation. Bioremediation is an environment friendly, cost effective, sustainable technology that utilizes microbes to decontaminate and degrade a wide variety of pollutants into less harmful products. Relative to free-floating planktonic cells, microbes existing in biofilm mode are advantageous for bioremediation because of greater tolerance to pollutants, environmental stress and ability to degrade varied harsh pollutants via diverse catabolic pathways. In biofilm mode, microbes are immobilized in a self-synthesized matrix which offers protection from stress, contaminants and predatory protozoa. Contaminants ranging from heavy metals, petroleum, explosives, pesticides have been remediated using microbial consortia of biofilms. In the industry, biofilm based bioremediation is used to decontaminate polluted soil and groundwater. Here we discuss conventional and newer strategies utilizing biofilms in environmental remediation.
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