Plant disease suppression

Intensively reared crops can suffer extensive and expensive losses resulting from plant disease infection. Until the early 1930s, crop rotation and the use of animal manures and green mulches provided the traditional protection regime after this time, chemical fumigation became the favoured method to deal with soil-borne pathogens, which can accumulate heavily in intensive monocultures. Methyl bromide has been the main agent used, its popularity largely attributable to its ability also to...

Extremophiles

As has been previously mentioned, in general the use of biotechnology for environmental management relies on mesophilic micro-organisms which have roughly similar environmental requirements to ourselves, in terms of temperature, pressure, water requirement and relative oxygenation. However, often some of their abilities, which are directly instrumental in enabling their use in this context, arose in the first instance as a result of previous environmental pressures in the species (pre)history....

Fermentation and respiration

The electrons derived from the catabolism of the carbon source are eventually either donated to an organic molecule in which case the process is described as fermentation, or donated to an inorganic acceptor by transfer along an electron chain. This latter process is respiration and may be aerobic where the terminal electron acceptor is oxygen, or anaerobic where the terminal electron acceptor is other than oxygen such as nitrate, sulphate, carbon dioxide, sulphur or ferric ion. Unfortunately,...