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Environmental Biotechnology - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123750891, 9780123785510

Environmental Biotechnology

1st Edition

A Biosystems Approach

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Author: Daniel Vallero
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123750891
eBook ISBN: 9780123785510
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 19th March 2010
Page Count: 750
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Environmental Biotechnology: A Biosystems Approach introduces a systems approach to environmental biotechnology and its applications to a range of environmental problems. A systems approach requires a basic understanding of four disciplines: environmental engineering, systems biology, environmental microbiology, and ecology. These disciplines are discussed in the context of their application to achieve specific environmental outcomes and to avoid problems in such applications. The book begins with a discussion of the background and historical context of contemporary issues in biotechnology. It then explains the scientific principles of environmental biotechnologies; environmental biochemodynamic processes; environmental risk assessment; and the reduction and management of biotechnological risks. It describes ways to address environmental problems caused or exacerbated by biotechnologies. It also emphasizes need for professionalism in environmental biotechnological enterprises. This book was designed to serve as a primary text for two full semesters of undergraduate study (e.g., Introduction to Environmental Biotechnology or Advanced Environmental Biotechnology). It will also be a resource text for a graduate-level seminar in environmental biotechnology (e.g., Environmental Implications of Biotechnology).

Key Features

  • Provides a systems approach to biotechnologies which includes the physical, biological, and chemical processes in context
  • Case studies include cutting-edge technologies such as nanobiotechnologies and green engineering
  • Addresses both the applications and implications of biotechnologies by following the life-cycle of a variety of established and developing biotechnologies


Researchers in environmental biology, nanotechnology, systems biology and microbiology; environmental engineers; scientists at engineering and remediation companies and public organizations; practitioners in applied biology fields; graduate and post-doctoral students in these areas of science

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Environmental Biotechnology: An Overview
Assessing the Biotechnological Impacts
Biotechnology and Bioengineering
 Discussion Box: Little Things Matter in a Chaotic World
The Environmental Biotechnology Discipline
  Biotechnology and Society
Risk and Reliability: Some Forethought
Beyond Biotechnological Applications
Oh No!
The Science of Environmental Biotechnology
Boxes and Envelopes
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 2: A Question of Balance: Using versus Abusing Biological Systems
 Environmental Biomimicry
 Engineered Systems Inspired by Biology
Environmental Biochemodynamics
 Biophile Cycling
  Carbon Sequestration in Soil
  Active Sequestration
Nitrogen and Sulfur Biochemodynamics
Review Questions
Notes and Resources

Chapter 3: Environmental Biochemodynamic Processes
Cellular Thermodynamics
  Importance of Free Energy in Microbial Metabolism
  Phase Partitioning
 Thermodynamics in Abiotic and Biotic Systems
  Volatility/Solubility/Density Relationships
  Environmental Balances
  Persistent Bioaccumulating Toxic Substances
  Discussion Box: The Inuit and Persistent Organic Pollutants
   Extrinsic Factors
 Biochemodynamic Persistence and Half-Life
 Fugacity, Z Values, and Henry’s Law
  Aerodynamic and Hydrodynamic Dispersion
 Overall Effect of the Fluxes, Sinks and Sources
 Biochemodynamic Transport Models
 Level 1 Model
Level 2 Model
Level 3 Model
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 4: Systems
 Biotechnological Systems
 Putting Biology to Work
 Systems Synergies: Biotechnological Analysis
 Using Bioindicators
 Relationship between Green Engineering and Biotechnology
 Review Questions

Chapter 5: Environmental Risks of Biotechnologies
Estimating Biotechnological Risks
Exposure Estimation
  Discussion Box: Exposure Calculation
 Direct Bioengineering Risk Calculations
Discussion Box: Cancer Risk Calculation
Discussion Box: Non-cancer Risk Calculation
Risk-based cleanup standards
Discussion Box: Treatment by Genetic Modification
  Discussion Box: Risk-Based Contaminant Cleanup
  Discussion Box: Biotechnical Communications
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 6: Reducing Biotechnological Risks
  Case Study Box: Genetic Biocontrols of Invaders
 Discussion Box: Discussion Box: Biochemodynamics of Pharmaceuticals
 Risk Causes
  Biographical Box: Sir Bradford Hill
 Case Study Box: Managing Risks by Distinguishing between Progenitor and Genetically Modified Microbes
 Failure: Human Factors Engineering
  Utility as a Measure of Success
  Failure Type 1: Mistakes and Miscalculations
Failure Type 2: Extraordinary Natural Circumstances
Failure Type 3: Critical Path
Failure Type 4: Negligence
Failure Type 5: Lack of Imagination
Bioterrorism: Bad Biotechnology
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 7: Applied Microbial Ecology: Bioremediation
Systematic View of Oxygen
Biodegradation and Bioremediation
Biochemodynamics of Biodegradation
  Off-site Treatment
Discussion Box: Biochemodynamic Films
Aerobic Biodegradation
  Trickling Filter
Activated Sludge
Aeration Ponds
Anaerobic Biodegradation
Multimedia-Multiphase Bioremediation
Bioengineering Considerations for Genetically Modified Organisms
 Discussion Box: Measuring Biodegradation Success
   Nitric Oxide as an Indicator of Degradation
   Humility in Biotechnological Modeling
 Developing an Indirect, Chemical Model of Microbial Activity
Model Comparison to Laboratory Study for Toluene Degradation
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 8: Biotechnological Implications: A Systems Approach
 Systematic View of Biotechnological Risks
 Applied Thermodynamics
 Predicting Environmental Implications
 Environmental Implications of Engineering Organisms
 Genetic Engineering Basics
  Conventional Breeding Approaches
  Modification of Organisms without Introducing Foreign DNA
Modification of Organisms by Introducing Foreign DNA
Transfected DNA
Vector-borne DNA
Environmental Aspects of Cisgenic and Transgenic Organisms
Foreign DNA in Plants
Biochemodynamic Flow of Modified Genetic Material
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 9: Environmental Risks of Biotechnologies: Economic Sector Perspectives
 Industrial Biotechnology
  Production of Enzymes
  The Organism
  Health and Safety Regulations
  Environmental Implications
 Medical Biotechnology
  Discussion Box: Patenting Life
  Bio-Uptake and Bioaccumulation
  Discussion Box: Hormonally Active Agents
   Determining Estrogenicity
   Environmental Fate of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds
   Treatment of EDCs in Drinking Water – UV applications
   Modeling the UV/H2O2 Process
  Environmental Implications
  Animal Biotechnology
 Agricultural Biotechnology
Discussion Box: “King Corn or Frankencorn”
   Genetic Modification
  Gene Flow
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 10: Addressing Biotechnological Pollutants
 Cleaning Up Biotechnological Operations
Intervention at the Source of Contamination
Intervention at the Point of Release
Intervention during Transport
Intervention to Control the Exposure
Intervention at the Point of Response
Thermal Treatment of Biotechnological Wastes
Calculating Destruction Removal
Other Thermal Strategies
Nitrogen and Sulfur Problems
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 11: Analyzing the Environmental Implications of Biotechnologies
   Discussion Box: Biological Agent: Stachybotrys
Life Cycle as an Analytical Methodology
 Revisiting Failure and Blame
 Environmental Accountability
 Life Cycle Applications
Utility and the Benefit/Cost Analysis
Predicting Environmental Damage
  Analysis of Biotechnological Implications
  Checklist for Ethical Decision Making
Review Questions
Notes and Commentary

Chapter 12: Managing Biotechnologies
 Bioengineering Perspectives
 Systematic Biotechnology and the Status Quo
 A Few Words about Environmental Ethics
 Biotechnology Decision Tools
  Informing Decisions
 Green Engineering and Biotechnology
 Green Engineering and Biotechnology
  Discussion Box: Probability and Biotechnology
 Risk Homeostasis and the Theory of Offsetting Behavior
 Review Questions
 Notes and Commentary
Appendix 1
Appendix 2


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© Academic Press 2010
19th March 2010
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
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About the Author

Daniel Vallero

Daniel Vallero

Dr. Daniel A. Vallero is an internationally recognized expert in environmental science and engineering. His four decades of research, teaching and professional experience in hazardous waste engineering and management have addressed a wide range of human health risk and ecological issues, from global climate change to the release of hazardous wastes. His research has advanced the state-of-the-science of air and water pollution measurement, models of potential exposures to chemicals in consumer products, and environmental impact assessments. He established the Engineering Ethics program and is a key collaborator in the Responsible Conduct of Research Program at Duke University. These programs introduce students, from first-year through PhD, to the complex relationships between science, technology and societal demands on the engineer. The lessons learned from the cases in this book are a fundamental part of Duke’s preparation of its future engineers to address the ethical dilemmas likely to be encountered during the careers of the next generation engineers. Dr. Vallero received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, a Master of Science in City & Regional Planning from SIU, a Masters in Civil & Environmental Engineering (Environmental Health Sciences) from the University of Kansas, and a PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Duke.

Affiliations and Expertise

Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

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