B3  Environmental Protection

big ninja

Essential Idea:

Biotechnology can be used in the prevention and mitigation of

contamination from industrial, agricultural and municipal wastes


  • Responses to pollution incidents can involve bioremediation combined with physical and chemical procedures
  • Microorganisms are used in bioremediation
  • Some pollutants are metabolised by microorganisms
  • Cooperative aggregates of microorganisms can form biofilms
  • Microorganisms in biofilms cooperate through quorum sensing
  • Biofilms possess emergent properties
  • Microorganisms growing in a biofilm are highly resistant to antimicrobial agents
  • Bacteriophages are used in the disinfection of water systems


  • Degradation of oil by Pseudomonas
  • Degradation of benzene by halophilic bacteria such as Marinobacter
  • Conversion by Pseudomonas of methyl mercury into elemental mercury
  • Use of biofilms in trickle filter beds for sewage treatment


  • Evaluation of data or media reports on environmental problems caused by biofilms