The stimulation of bacteria to remove toxins.

How does it work?

When chemicals need to be removed from water or soil bio-remediation is sometimes used. Bio-remediation is the stimulation of native or non-native bacteria with nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, molasses or vegetable oil to allow the bacteria to decompose the harmful chemicals in to less toxic or non-toxic ones. There is actually no known substance that can't be degraded by bacteria and bacteria can be genetically modified to survive in harsher conditions.


Overall bio-remediation is a very safe solution to contaminated areas. It simply degrades the harmful chemicals into safe ones and then dies off when the food source is depleted. In this way oil could be turned into carbon dioxide, ethane, and water. Some people do have concerns though, for starters i can be difficult to control where the bacteria go. Some people think the bacteria could make people sick or even kill them, although this will most likely not happen. Also many people don't like the idea of using something not natural, such as a genetically modified organism.

A few of the many bacteria use in bio-remediation.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill 2010

After over 200 million liters of oil were spilled near the gulf of Mexico very aggressive clean-up methods were taken. The detergents used were actually more toxic than the oil that was spilled and the oil burned of the surface was causing large amounts of air pollution. These methods were taken even though if used in a large amount bacteria could have decomposed the oil in to non-toxic chemicals.

Factors Bio-Remediation Requires

Though it is a very green cleaning method bio-remediation requires a few important factors.

-oxygen, about 2% in the air or 0.4mg/liter in the air

-water, soil should have 50 to 70 percent of it's water capacity full

-nutrients, bacteria requires nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur to survive

-temperature, it should be between 0 and 40 Celsius

Big image