Various technological developments since the onset of the Industrial Revolution have contributed to the degradation of the environment. However, major progress in the area of molecular biology is paving the way for technology to play a pivotal role in preserving the environment in the future. Learn about five ways that molecular biological tools can be used to preserve the environment.
1. The Decontamination of Soils
Two researchers based in Montreal, Canada worked on a way to clean contaminated soil with the help of a molecular tool known as bioremediation. This method involves an interaction between plants, soil, bacteria, and fungi. The soil serves as an environment for the growth of microorganisms, and these organisms go on to feed on pollutants. This leads to the destruction of pollutants over time. In fact, soil remediation is a $30 billion market in Canada. Millions of dollars are being invested in cleaning up soil, so bioremidation can play a key role in improving the environment.
2. Replacements for Fossil Fuels
Professor Adrian Tsang has argued that the study of fungi DNA can improve technology related to fossil fuels. His research has provided information on processes that can be used to minimize the use of chemicals in industry. In addition, the studies have added insight into the processes needed to produce bioethanol. This is produced from plant-based sources and can be used by some gasoline engines as energy.
3. Strengthening Our Forests
Genomics can be used to help preserve forests. DNA analysis and thorough studies can provide loads of information regarding the health of tree species. Data can focus on prediction models for insect infestation, the strengths and weaknesses of conifer species, and the promotion of genetic diversity. If scientists pick up on key genetic markers regarding trees that are more effective at resisting pests and disease, then resources can be shifted towards planting those trees in areas that can accommodate new forests.
4. Fighting Against Radiation
Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have discovered fungi that possess the ability to use radioactivity as an energy source. There are potential implications for this feature of fungi in terms of reducing bio hazard waste.
5. Fighting Oil Spills with Bacteria
BP’s oil spill wreaked havoc on the Gulf of Mexico’s aquatic environment. Microbes were used to clean up the oil spill. Since some microbes utilize oil as fuel, they can be employed to help clean up oil spills. They ate through hydrocarbons. Specifically, a number of natural gas components like methane, butane, propane, and pentane were broken down.