Prospects for harnessing biocide resistance for bioremediation and detoxification

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Abstract

Prokaryotes in natural environments respond rapidly to high concentrations of chemicals and physical stresses. Exposure to anthropogenic toxic substances—such as oil, chlorinated solvents, or antibiotics—favors the evolution of resistant phenotypes, some of which can use contaminants as an exclusive carbon source or as electron donors and acceptors. Microorganisms similarly adapt to extreme pH, metal, or osmotic stress. The metabolic plasticity of prokaryotes can thus be harnessed for bioremediation and can be exploited in a variety of ways, ranging from stimulated natural attenuation to bioaugmentation and from wastewater treatment to habitat restoration.

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