The Potential of Hydrocarbon Chemotaxis to Increase Bioavailability and Biodegradation Efficiency
Hydrocarbons are simple organic compounds, containing only carbon and hydrogen, but despite their simplicity, they are common contaminants in our environment. This and the risks they pose to human health require remediation strategies. The decomposition of hydrocarbons by microorganisms into less or nontoxic simpler substances has been under study for many years and important advances have been made in this field. Interestingly, cell adherence and surface hydrophobicity, biosurfactant production, motility, and chemotaxis processes are bacterial abilities that reduce the distance between the microorganisms and solid substrates, enhancing bioavailability. Particularly, chemotaxis may enable hydrocarbon-utilizing bacteria to actively seek new substrates once they are depleted in a given contaminated area increasing their bioavailability and biodegradation. This chapter recapitulates major advances in the potential of hydrocarbon chemotaxis to increase bioavailability and biodegradation efficiency.
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