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BIO403: Biotechnology

Unit 9: Environmental Biotechnology and Renewable Energy   This unit focuses on the biotechnology to help clean our environment, with the help of microorganisms.  For a century, microbes have been used to clean our sewage; recently, scientists have begun to create new ways for microbes to aid our environmental cleanup efforts.  This unit focuses on how microbes are grown and cultured for environmental purposes.  We discuss the current state of bioremediation or the use of organisms to clean contaminants from the environment.  We will end with an overview of the current ways we use biotechnology to create renewable sources of energy, such as biodiesel and biogas.

Unit 9 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 23.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 9.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.3: 4.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.3.1: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 9.3.2: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 9.3.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.3.4: 1.0 hour

☐    Subunit 9.3.5: 1.0 hour

☐    Subunit 9.4: 2.0 hours

☐    Subunit 9.5: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.6: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.7: 2.0 hours

☐    Subunit 9.8: 3.0 hours

Unit9 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the effect of microbes on our environment.
  • Discuss bioremediation of air, water, and soil.
  • Describe biofilm reactors.
  • Discuss environmental biotechnologies.
  • Discuss biotreatment of metal pollution.
  • Analyze the use of genetically engineered microbes in the production of renewable energy.

9.1 Environment and Microbiology   9.1.1 Environmental Niche of Microbes   - Reading: Kenneth Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology: “The Impact of Microbes on the Environment and Human Activities” Links: Kenneth Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology:  “The Impact of Microbes on the Environment and Human Activities” (HTML)
                                
Instructions: Please study all four pages.  Use the “next page” or “chapter continued” buttons at the bottom of the page to access pgs 2-4.
 
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9.1.2 Microbial Growth and Energy   - Reading: MIT’s Biological Energy Interest Group: Weigele’s “Biology of Hydrogen Production” Links:  MIT’s Biological Energy Interest Group: Weigele’s “Biology of Hydrogen Production” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study the content of this page.
 
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9.1.3 Microbial Nutrition and Metabolism   - Reading: University of South Carolina, School of Medicine’s Microbiology and Immunology Online: Alvin Fox’s “Bacteriology—Chapter Three: Nutrition, Growth and Energy Metabolism” Links:  University of South Carolina, School of Medicine’s Microbiology and Immunology Online:  Alvin Fox’s “Bacteriology—Chapter Three: Nutrition, Growth and Energy Metabolism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.
 
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9.1.4 Chemostat Studies   - Reading: National Center for Biotechnology Information’s Bookshelf: ASM Press: David R. Drake and Kim A. Brogden’s Polymicrobial Diseases: “Continuous-Culture Chemostat Systems and Flowcells as Methods to Investigate Microbial Interactions” Links:  National Center for Biotechnology Information’s Bookshelf:  ASM Press: David R. Drake and Kim A. Brogden’s Polymicrobial Diseases:  “Continuous-Culture Chemostat Systems and Flowcells as Methods to Investigate Microbial Interactions” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.
 
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9.2 Biofilm Reactors   - Reading: BioMed Central: Microbial Cell Factories: Nasib Qureshi et al.’s “Biofilm Reactors for Industrial Bioconversion Processes: Employing Potential of Enhanced Reaction Rates” Link: BioMed Central: Microbial Cell Factories:  Nasib Qureshi et al.’s “Biofilm Reactors For Industrial Bioconversion Processes: Employing Potential of Enhanced Reaction Rates” (HTML or PDF)
 
Instructions: Please study the content of this page.  You can access the PDF under “viewing options” on the right-hand side of the page.  This is a peer-reviewed publication.
 
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9.3 Bioremediation of Soil   9.3.1 Soil Organic Matter Characteristics   - Reading: The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation’s “What Does Organic Matter Do In Soil?” Link: The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation’s “What Does Organic Matter Do In Soil?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study the content of this page.
 
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9.3.2 Pesticides   - Reading: Province of British Columbia: Ministry of Agriculture’s “Environmental Protection” Link: Province of British Columbia: Ministry of Agriculture’s “Environmental Protection” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.

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9.3.3 Hydrocarbons   - Reading: National Center for Biotechnology Information’s PubMed: American Society for Microbiology: Microbiological Reviews: Leahy and Colwell’s “Microbial Degradation of Hydrocarbons in the Environment” Link: National Center for Biotechnology Information’s PubMed:  American Society for Microbiology: Microbiological Reviews: Leahy and Colwell’s “Microbial Degradation of Hydrocarbons in the Environment” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In order to access the full manuscript, follow the directions under “Full Text” heading. Please study the full text.  The authors work in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Maryland.
 
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9.3.4 Industrial Chemicals   - Reading: Green Footsteps’ “Industrial Pollution Causes Land Pollution” Link: Green Footsteps’ “Industrial Pollution Causes Land Pollution” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.
 
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9.3.5 In-Situ and Ex-Situ Bioremediation   - Reading: Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable’s “In Situ Biological Treatment for Soil, Sediment, Bedrock and Sludge” Link: Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable’s “In Situ Biological Treatment for Soil, Sediment, Bedrock and Sludge” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.
 
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  • Reading: Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable’s “Ex Situ Biological Treatment for Soil, Sediment, Bedrock and Sludge” Link: Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable’s “Ex Situ Biological Treatment for Soil, Sediment, Bedrock and Sludge” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please study this page.

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9.4 Bioremediation of Air   9.4.1 Air Pollutants   - Reading: United States Environmental Protection Agency’s “What Are the Six Common Air Pollutants?” Link: United States Environmental Protection Agency’s “What Are the Six Common Air Pollutants?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this page, and follow these links to learn about common air pollutants: “Ozone,” “Particulate Matter,” “Carbon Monoxide,” “Nitrogen Oxide,” “Sulfur Dioxide,” “Lead,” “Latest Findings on National Air Quality: Status and Trends,” and within it the air pollutants link; furthermore, please follow all links under the “Health Effects Information” heading.
 
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9.4.2 Degradation of Air Contaminants   - Reading: Green Solutions Magazine: Maggie Romuld’s “Using Bio-Oxidation to Prevent Air Pollution” Link: Green Solutions Magazine:  Maggie Romuld’s “Using Bio-Oxidation to Prevent Air Pollution” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study the content of this page.
 
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9.4.3 Biological Filtration Processes   - Reading: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Selvi B. Anit and Robert J. Artuz’s “Biofiltration of Air” Link: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:  Selvi B. Anit and Robert J. Artuz’s “Biofiltration of Air” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.
 
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9.5 Bioremediation of Water   9.5.1 Major Contaminants of Groundwater   - Reading: Texas A & M University: Robert Stewards’s “Groundwater Contamination” Link: Texas A & M University: Robert Stewards’s “Groundwater Contamination” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This page summarizes contaminants and it also outlines activities that lead to groundwater contamination.  Please study the entire page.
 
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  • Reading: Texas A & M University: Robert Stewart’s “Environmental Science in the 21st Century - Ground Water Contamination” Link: Texas A & M University: Robert Stewart’s “Environmental Science in the 21st Century - Ground Water Contamination” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please study the content of this page for an overview on ground water contamination.
     
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9.5.2 Ex Situ Bioremediation   - Reading: Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable’s “Ex Situ Biological Treatment for Groundwater, Surface Water, and Leachate” Link: Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable’s  “Ex Situ Biological Treatment for Groundwater, Surface Water, and Leachate” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study the content of this page.
 
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9.5.3 In-situ Bioremediation   - Reading: United States Environmental Protection Agency’s “In-Situ Groundwater Bioremediation” Link: United States Environmental Protection Agency’s  “In-Situ Groundwater Bioremediation” (HTML)
  
Instructions: Please study the content of this page.
 
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9.5.4 Landfill Biotreatment   - Reading: Center for Public Environmental Oversight’s “Bio-Reactors” Link: Center for Public Environmental Oversight’s “Bio-Reactors” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.
 
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9.6 Emerging Environmental Biotechnologies   9.6.1 Phytoremediation   - Reading: United States Department of Agriculture’s “Phytoremediation: Using Plants to Clean Up Soils” Link: United States Department of Agriculture’s “Phytoremediation: Using Plants to Clean Up Soils” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.
 
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9.6.2 Biomembrane Reactors   - Reading: Environmental Thinking: Tony Kobilnyk’s “Energy Savings Using Membrane Bioreactor Technology" Link: Environmental Thinking: Tony Kobilnyk’s  “Energy Savings Using Membrane Bioreactor Technology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.
 
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9.6.3 Sequestering Carbon Dioxide   - Lecture: Stanford University: Brent Constantz’s “Sequestering Carbon Dioxide in the Built Environment: A Revolutionary Cement Technology” Link: Stanford University: Brent Constantz’s “Sequestering Carbon Dioxide in the Built Environment: A Revolutionary Cement Technology” (Adobe Flash)
 
Also available in:
iTunes U

[YouTube](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4Unt7MRsV4&feature=player_embedded#at=12)  
    
 Instructions:  Please read the introduction on this page.  Please
follow the lecture on YouTube or iTunes as the video box next to the
introduction is very tiny.  
    
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9.7 Biotreatment of Metals   9.7.1 Bioaccumulation   - Reading: Marietta College: Dave McShaffrey’s “Bioaccumulation & Biomagnification” Link:  Marietta College:  Dave McShaffrey’s “Bioaccumulation & Biomagnification” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study the content of the “Heavy Metals and Other Substances” section on this page.
 
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9.7.2 Bioleaching   - Reading: Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile's Electronic Journal of Biotechnology: Fernando Acevedo’s “Present and Future of Bioleaching in Developing Countries” Link:  Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile'sElectronic Journal of Biotechnology:  Fernando Acevedo’s “Present and Future of Bioleaching in Developing Countries” (HTML or PDF)
 
Instructions: Please study this page. You can access the PDF by clicking the “Reprint (PDF) link above the Abstract.
 
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9.7.3 Biological Methylation   - Reading: Microbiology: Geoffrey Michael Gadd’s “Metals, Minerals and Microbes: Geomicrobiology and Bioremediation” Link: Microbiology:  Geoffrey Michael Gadd’s “Metals, Minerals and Microbes: Geomicrobiology and Bioremediation” (HTML or PDF)
 
Instructions: Please study the “Metal Mobilization” and “Metal Immobilization” sections on this page. You can access the PDF format in the right-hand side of the page.  Author Gadd works in the Division of Molecular Microbiology, College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, UK.  This is a peer-reviewed publication.
 
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9.7.4 Oxidation and Reduction   - Reading: Society for General Microbiology's Microbiology: Geoffrey Michael Gadd’s “Metals, Minerals and Microbes: Geomicrobiology and Bioremediation” Link:  Society for General Microbiology's Microbiology: Geoffrey Michael Gadd’s “Metals, Minerals and Microbes: Geomicrobiology and Bioremediation” (HTML or PDF)
 
Instructions: Please study the “Reductive Transformations, Nanoparticle Formation and Nano-Biotechnology” section on this page.  You can access the PDF format in the right-hand side of the page.  Author Gadd works in the Division of Molecular Microbiology, College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, UK.  This is a peer-reviewed publication.
 
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9.8 Renewable Energy   9.8.1 Bioalcohols   - Reading: Wikipedia’s “Alcohol Fuel” Link: Wikipedia’s “Alcohol Fuel” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please study this page.  Please note that not all alternative fuels are produced without using microorganisms; for example, esterification, a chemical reaction, is used to make biodiesel, and fractional distillation, a physical method, is employed to make green diesel.  Methods that do not use living organisms for production are not covered in this course.
 
Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikipedia version of this article here (HTML).

9.8.2 Biogas   - Lecture: YouTube: Bioconstructer’s “How Does a Biogas Plant Work?” Link: YouTube: Bioconstructer’s “How Does a Biogas Plant Work?” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please watch the video (10 minutes).  Note that this process uses fermentation.
 
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9.8.3 Biohydrogen   - Reading: National Center for Biotechnology Information’s PubMed: Springer: Photosynthesis Research: Hemschemeier et al.’s “Analytical Approaches to Photobiological Hydrogen Production in Unicellular Green Algae” Link: National Center for Biotechnology Information’s PubMed: Springer: Photosynthesis Research: Hemschemeier et al.’s “Analytical Approaches to Photobiological Hydrogen Production in Unicellular Green Algae” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this publication, because it explains several approaches for biohydrogen production.  Please note that genetically engineered microorganisms are in the focus of biohydrogen production.  This is a peer-reviewed publication.
 
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  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s "BIO403 Unit 9.8 Assessment" Link: The Saylor Foundation’s "BIO403 Unit 9.8 Assessment" (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above to launch the "Biohydrogen" assessment.  This is a multiple choice assessment with one correct answer.  Clicking on an answer will bring you to another page.  If your answer is correct, then it is acknowledged with a short explanation.  Please read the explanation carefully.  If you clicked on a wrong answer, then the click will bring you to a tutorial page.  Please study the tutorial page carefully.  You will be prompted to return to the assessment and complete it again.  Please note that this assessment is focusing on the regulation of molecular hydrogen evolution in microbes.  Biohydrogen is a promising renewable energy source; it is novel and requires appropriate safety measures

9.8.4 Algae Fuel   - Reading: MIT’s Technology Review: Kevin Bullis’s “Fuel from Algae” Link: MIT’s Technology Review: Kevin Bullis’s “Fuel from Algae” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please study this page. Note that genetically engineered algae is used to make oil.
 
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