Bioremediation is an area of increasing interest.
Environmental biotechnology can more efficiently clean up many wastes than conventional methods and greatly reduce our dependence on methods for land-based disposal. Every organism ingests nutrients to live and produces by-products as a result. Different organisms need different types of nutrients. Some bacteria thrive on the chemical components of waste products. Environmental engineers use bioremediation, the broadest application of environmental biotechnology, in two basic ways. They introduce nutrients to stimulate the activity of bacteria already present in the soil at a waste site, or add new bacteria to the soil. Bacteria digest the waste at the site and turn it into harmless byproducts. After the bacteria consume the waste materials, they die off or return to their normal population levels in the environment.
Through application of biotechnical methods, enzyme bioreactors are being developed that will pretreat some industrial waste and food waste components and allow their removal through the sewage system rather than through solid waste
disposal mechanisms. Waste can also be converted to biofuel to run generators. Microbes can be induced to produce enzymes needed to convert plant and vegetable materials into building blocks for biodegradable plastics.
In some cases, the byproducts of the pollution-fighting microorganisms are themselves useful. For example, methane can be derived from a form of bacteria that degrades sulfur liquor, a waste product of paper manufacturing. This methane can then be used as a fuel or in other industrial