Biosafety and the Environmental Uses of Micro-Organisms

Conference Proceedings

image of Biosafety and the Environmental Uses of Micro-Organisms

Micro-organisms play a fundamental role in the environment. Yet their role is the result of complex biogeochemical processes by consortia of micro-organisms and the function of individual species is not clear in many cases.

This publication provides an overview of the current situation and relevant developments in environmental microbiology, as well as its potential application, which covers: use of micro-organisms for agriculture, production purposes, bioremediation, and cleaning purpose; environmental applications of microbial symbionts of insects; and environmental risk/safety assessment of the deliberate release of engineered micro-organisms.




Issues in the risk assessment of the use of microalgae for production purposes

The use of microalgae for biotechnological purposes has increased rapidly in the past few years. In the United States, oversight of the development of the use of microalgae is included in the purviews of many laws and the regulations that implement those laws. Part of the responsibilities encompassed by these laws is a need to evaluate the risks as well as the benefits from the biotechnology industry. In the United States, efforts to co-ordinate the evaluation of research and the commercialisation of biotechnology, which includes the use of microalgae, have been ongoing since 1986. The recent development of a biofuels and bioproducts component of the biotechnology industry has resulted in new examinations of the roles government agencies play in the oversight of this industry sector. Risk and sustainability assessments for production of microalgae have recently been highlighted by private and government sponsored panels. This chapter discusses the progress of co-ordination and evaluation of such oversight in the United States.


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