Environmental Biotechnology: Perceptions, Reality, and Applications

  • Gary S. Sayler
  • Robert Fox
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 41)


Environmental biotechnology for hazardous wastes can be defined as the use of microorganisms and their processes for socio-economic benefits in environmental protection and restoration. The application of biological processes for disposal and control of waste from human activities is established technology dating back at least 4000 years (1). However, the understanding that microorganisms, “microphytin,” were mechanistically responsible for degradation of organic pollutants in wastes is much more recent, being developed in the late 1800’s (2). While specific knowledge of the microbial species, biochemistry and genetics mediating biodegradation has only been developed in the later half of this century, practical civil engineering applications of biological processes for control of domestic and some industrial wastes have been developed as highly efficient technology.


Hazardous Waste Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Environmental Biotechnology Slurry Reactor Heap Leaching 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary S. Sayler
    • 1
  • Robert Fox
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Environmental BiotechnologyKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.International Technology CorporationKnoxvilleUSA

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