by guest blogger Bobbi Peterson from Living Life Green
Perhaps you began farming in order to develop a more self-sustainable lifestyle, free from unknown additives or impurities in the things you and your family consume on a daily basis. Maybe agriculture simply runs in your blood and every member of your family has had and will continue to have a green thumb. Perhaps you have become aware of the strain mass-produced food has on our planet and you want to do your part to lessen the load.
The reason does not matter. You have a working farm, and there are always ways to make it better.
The Benefits of Bioremediation
There are plenty of ways to increase the positive effect your homestead has on the environment, and one of these methods comes in the form of bioremediation. Officially, it’s the practice of natural purification of the earth. Microbes are utilized to clean contaminated soils or groundwater in a specified area. The microbes, or bacteria, attack the impurities and eliminate them similarly to how white blood cells attack pathogens and destroy them inside your body.
After eliminating contamination in the soil or water, these same bacteria then stimulate the growth of healthier microbes that consume those same impurities for energy, thus providing long-term protection for the land. This method has the distinct advantage of being a natural occurrence with a high success rate on its own. When facilitated and encouraged through human effort and ingenuity, the beneficial prospects are multiplied tenfold.
This holistic approach may seem a bit far-fetched at first, but it’s worth noting that humans have used similar methods before. In ancient and medieval times, when a person received an open injury and faced infection, maggots were placed into the wound. The maggots would eat away the dead and infected flesh, leaving the healthy skin and tissue behind. This essentially explains the bioremediation process: Nature protecting its health by consuming infection or pollution.
So, why does this new method matter, especially if it’s naturally occurring anyway? Why interfere or add to a process that will activate on its own? Here are three reasons:
- It’s a more sustainable process than other modern methods of remediation
- It’s less expensive on homesteaders
- It’s a flexible process that can be implemented alongside other technologies if you require a faster timetable or rapid deadline
Using Nature to Our Advantage
There are three different types of bioremediation. All three are tailored to meet an environmental need without adding to the technological or chemical pollution of the planet.
- Microbial utilizes microorganisms to break down contaminants and use them as an energy source. It’s the most basic and widely acknowledged version of bioremediation.
- Phytoremediation utilizes flora to bind, extract and purify chemical pollutants that are often used on farmland or the trace elements that are a consequence of such pollutants. This includes pesticides, petroleum hydrocarbons, trace metals and chlorinated solvents.
- Mycoremediation embraces fungi and the digestive enzymes within to break down these same impurities, but to a greater degree for wetlands and water purification.
This technology not only benefits farmlands and wetlands, but also the ocean. Many professional fish catchers and farmers are looking toward the sea for alternatives in agriculture. This aquaculture movement depends on the seas becoming a major source of new protein and vegetable cultivation, and industrial oil incidents only hinder those plans. Bioremediation technology makes it possible to clean up the oceans after major oil spills and other unfortunate environmental disasters.
By using naturally occurring bacteria to eliminate contaminants in the sea, we protect and encourage aqua-culturists and their attempts to solve the problem of global food production. It’s no secret that we are running out of space to grow and cultivate the food we need to survive. As the human population increases, we need to find different ways to feed ourselves consistently and healthily. Bioremediation will help us in that endeavor.
Bobbi Peterson is a green living and environmental writer. She regularly posts about sustainability and simple living on her blog, Living Life Green. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.
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Thanks for sharing this! Love informing people that there are actually good bacteria out there that can help break down things like oil and grease.