Important facts on Environmental Biotechnology

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(A) Fermentation Technology :

A variety of organic compounds, used as organic feedstocks for many chemical industries, are produced industrially by fermentation process. For example, Ethanol for human consumption has been manufactured as a component of alcoholic fermentation since prehistoric times. It is generally produced by fermentation of some sugar rich products with the help of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae etc.

Fermentation is often most active under anaerobic conditions, when carbohydrate is converted into ethanol via private and acetaldehyde. Various types of continuous fermentation plants are available for producing ethanol, where sometimes several fomenters are connected in a series.

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In a typical fermented using molasses as a substrate, diammouium phosphate is mixed up with the substrate. The pH is maintained at 5.0 and fermentation is carried out at 30-35°C. After fermentation, yeast cells are separated by centrifugation or sedimentation and used again.

(B) Sericulture Technology :

It is a technique of using earthworms is producing organic manure on industrial level. The use of earthworms, make use of household garbage, fruit peelings, vegetable trimmings, tea leaves and other organic discarded materials, Earthworms are farmer’s friends in the agricultural fields where they turnover the soil, aerate it and add manure to make it fertile. Conversion of organic waste into manure by earthworms is termed as vermicompost. These species not only plough the field, but also carry out transformation of animal vegetable wastes into compost.

Vermicompost pits of suitable size (2.5 m x 1.5 m x lm) are made, filled up with a thin layer of gravely sand and overlaid with worms. Water is sprinkled to keep moisture. A layer of cow dung is spread over the varied and then covered with dry leaves, hay and vegetable matter.

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After 3-4 weeks when partial decomposition has taken place, the pit is topped with municipal garbage and another layer of cow dung. The vermeil is kept moist by sprinkling water regularly and finally covered with a wire mesh to protect earthworms from preying birds. Earthworms keep on turning the material through different layers and decompose the organic material. It takes about 45 days to make vermicompost, which is a back granular material. Vermicompost is gaining popularity among farmers and gardeners.

(c) Biofertilizer Technology :

Biofertilizer are the biologically active products or microbial inoculants of bacteria, algae and fungi, which may help biological nitrogen fixation for the benefit of plants. Biofertilizers also include organic fertilizers (manures, etc.), which are rendered in an available form due to the interaction of micro­organisms or due to the interaction of micro­organisms or due to their association with plants.

Biiofertilizers thus include (i) symbiotic nitrogen fixers e.g. Rhizobium spp.; (ii) asymbiotic free nitrogen fixer e.g. Azotobacter, Azospirillum, etc. (iii) algae biofertilizers e.g. blue green algae or BGA in association with Azolla; (iv) phosphate solubilising bacteria; (v) mycorrhizae; (vi) organic fertilizers.

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The need for the use of biofertilizers has arisen, primarily for two reasons. First, because increase in the use of fertilizers leads to increased usage of chemical fertilizer leads to damage in soil texture and raises other environmental problems. Therefore, the use of biofertilizers is both economical and environments friendly. The pragmatic approach will be to develop the integrated nutrient supply system involving a combination of the use of chemical fertilizers and biofertilizers.

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