, Volume 59, Issue 8, pp 703-714
Date: 29 Jan 2014

Genetically engineered organisms for bioremediation of pollutants in contaminated sites

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Abstract

Environmental pollution is a major problem which affects biodiversity, public health and ecosystems worldwide. This issue cannot currently be solved using conventional technology because these treatments are expensive, ineffective and time consuming. Conventional methods focus unduly on the separation, rather than the destruction of contaminants. The use of genetically engineered organisms for bioremediation would be an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective alternative for the management and remediation of pollutants in contaminated sites. Different types of genetically engineered microbes have been developed through recombinant DNA and RNA technologies, these have been utilized for the removal of heavy metals and toxic substances from contaminated sites. Transgenic plants can also mobilize or degrade chlorinated solvent, xenobiotic compounds, explosives and phenolic substances. A symbiotic relationship between genetic engineered microbes and transgenic plants can enhance the effectiveness of bioremediation of contaminated sites. This review examines recent developments in the use of genetically engineered microbes and transgenic plants for the bioremediation of contaminated sites. This review will also identify the environmental factors which influence bioremediation by genetically engineered microbes and transgenic plants as well as suggesting future directions for research in these areas.