Invited Lecture – Application of Biosurfactants as Sustainable Environmental Remediation
An evaluation of the management options must be made for contaminated sites. In particular, various techniques must be considered for the remediation of soils, mining residues, water and sediments when the release of hazardous materials becomes a serious problem. The options can include physical, biological, and/or chemical treatments. Sustainable management options for contaminated sediments are required and will be evaluated. In situ remediation could be beneficial over ex situ technologies due to a reduction in costs and lack of solid disposal requirements.
Selection of the most appropriate remediation technology must coincide with the environmental characteristics of the site and the ongoing sediment fate and transport processes. To be sustainable, the risk to human health and the environment at the site must be reduced, and not be transferred to another site. Cost-effectiveness and sustainable solutions are significant factors in determining the treatment. Both in situ and ex situ treatment approaches are available but decisions must be made based on the information available. The application of biosurfactants has been evaluated as alternatives to chemical reagents due to their surface active and emulsifying properties, low toxicity, biodegradability, unlimited applicability and relative low production cost for sustainable remediation. Studies showed that for effective application of biosurfactants, they should be selected based on pollutant characteristics and properties, treatment capacity, costs, regulatory requirements, and time constraints. Moreover, understanding of the mechanisms of interaction between biosurfactants and heavy metal and hydrocarbon contaminants or the contaminated environment can assist in selection of the appropriate biosurfactants for sustainable remediation. This seminar will include research on various environmental applications of biosurfactants. Natural processes for remediation of sediments will also be discussed.