Bioremediation is a process used to treat contaminated media, including water, soil and subsurface material, by altering environmental conditions to stimulate growth of microorganisms and degrade the target pollutants. In many cases, bioremediation is less expensive and more sustainable than other remediation alternatives. Biological treatment is a similar approach used to treat wastes including wastewater, industrial waste and solid waste.
Most bioremediation processes involve oxidation-reduction reactions where either an electron acceptor is added to stimulate oxidation of a reduced pollutant or an electron donor is added to reduce oxidized pollutants (nitrate, perchlorate, oxidized metals, chlorinated solvents, explosives and propellants). In both these approaches, additional nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and pH buffers may be added to optimize conditions for the microorganisms. In some cases, specialized microbial cultures are added (bioaugmentation) to further enhance biodegradation. Some examples of bioremediation related technologiesare phytoremediation, mycoremediation, bioventing, bioleaching, landfarming, bioreactor, composting, rhizofiltration, and bio stimulation.