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.




Lessons of the impact of genetically engineered micro-organisms on natural ecosystems like soil

This chapter briefly describes some examples of past and present (next to potential novel) applications of genetically modified micro-organisms to soil, stressing the importance of analysing the putative impacts of such applications to the life support functions (LSF) of a living soil at three levels: i) functioning for soil fertility; ii) functioning for pathogen suppressiveness; iii) functioning for the provision of clean drinking water. To understand the impact of such genetically modified micro-organism applications on the soil, it is important to deepen our understanding of the microbial communities that are responsible for the key LSF of that soil. Moreover, we need to understand how these might be affected mechanistically. It is, therefore, important to further develop databases that contain extensive data on the microbial communities in the soil systems under study. This chapter advocates the application of the currently available powerful methods, which enable the dissection of soil microbial systems into their individual components. Finally, the chapter proposes the definition of a normal operating range (NOR) to fit the dataset obtained into a framework which is quantifiable and may serve to support decision making.


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