Read the full story from Texas A&M.
Bioremediation is the process of cleaning up a polluted site by using living organisms and turning pollutants into non-toxic substances. For example, researchers have studied the use of bacteria to break down organic contaminants in groundwater; however, this bioremediation process has been met with limited success under some conditions. Because the presence of bacteria, water flow rate in an aquifer and nutrient levels vary widely within and between aquifers, having a better understanding of what affects bioremediation success is crucial.
Building that understanding is the goal of a new study led by Itza Mendoza-Sanchez, PhD, research assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Mendoza-Sanchez’s research study applied experimental data and mathematical models to understand some of the limitations of biodegradation of toxic pollutants that are frequently found in contaminated aquifers. Having mathematical models that accurately represent the processes and limitations of bioremediation would allow scientists to efficiently clean contaminated groundwater.