Ecologists are rather not good thinking about biotechnologists. Mostly because the only thing they connect this profession is GM crops which they do not trust. However not many knows that biotechnological applications are giving today world lots of new options of protecting and saving the environment. How can it be?
I will be preparing a bigger article about it in our HaaBaa Infopool and I just wanted to introduce the subject in few words.
So what possibilities give biotech tools to help us saving the planet? Firstly, a very popular topic of scientific researches from few years which can be found under one term: bioremediation.
Another large field of possibilities opens at the term bioindicators. There is lots of natural lichens that are very sensitive to air pollution and this way help to monitor it. Lots of other organisms are used to test water. The problem is that this is not a method which can provide us with the exact measurements of pollution levels. We need something which would allow us to quantify it. And there are some bacteria use already to do that. A small “friend” called Vibrio fischeri (a cousin of dangerous Vibrio cholerae causing deadly illness) is able to sense small amounts of cadmium (Cd) and according to it’s level it produces light! This is thanks to an enism luciferine (from latin –lux, lucis – light). And it is even possible to tell exactly the cadmium level according to the light measurements. The only inconvenience is that those little thongs do not survive if the Cd level is to high. So it is a job of biotechnologist to make those bacteria more resistant to high levels of pollution and then we will have a very good indicator-pollution meter.
This is it for now. I will try to put more info together and add an article on our InfoPool soon.