Environmental biotechnology is concerned with the application of biotechnology as an emerging technology in the context of environmental protection, since rapid industrialization, urbanization and other developments have resulted in a threatened clean environment and depleted natural resources. The development of multiple human activities (in industry, transport, agriculture, domestic space), the increase in the standard of living and higher consumer demand have amplified pollution of air (with CO2, NOx, SO2, greenhouse gasses, particulate matters), water (with chemical and biological pollutants, nutrients, leachate, oil spills), soil (due to the disposal of hazardous waste, spreading of pesticides), the use of disposable goods or non-biodegradable materials, and the lack of proper facilities for waste. Studies and researches demonstrated that some of these pollutants can be readily degraded or removed thanks to biotechnological solutions, which involve the action of microbes, plants, animals under certain conditions that envisage abiotic and biotic factors, leading to non-aggressive products through compounds mineralization, transformation or immobilization. Advanced techniques or technologies are now possible to treat waste and degrade pollutants assisted by living organisms or to develop products and processes that generate less waste and preserve the natural non-renewable resources and energy as a result of:
- improved treatments for solid waste and wastewater;
- bioremediation: cleaning up contamination and phytoremediation;
- ensuring the health of the environment through bio-monitoring;
- cleaner production: manufacturing with less pollution or less raw materials;
- energy from biomass;
- genetic engineering for environmental protection and control.