Methanotrophic bioremediation for the degradation of oceanic methane and chlorinated hydrocarbons
(1) The Buckley School, Sherman Oaks, California, (2) The Brentwood School, Los Angeles, California
Methane (CH4) has been underrepresented as a contributor to the global warming effect related to carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is about 200 times as abundant in the atmosphere, however volume alone does not give a clear picture of its environmental impact. Methane is much more immediate in the way it damages the earth as a greenhouse gas, with most of its absorbed heat generated in the first 20 years after emission where carbon dioxide has an environmentally damaging “slow burn” over what typically lasts several hundred years. When methane is removed from the atmosphere, we will see the effect much more immediately, and have a chance to help generations in the much less distant future. The objective of this study was to develop a novel, low-cost biotrickling filter able to degrade methane as well as co-metabolize carcinogenic chlorinated hydrocarbons. While methanotrophic bioremediation has been adapted for in situ degradation in freshwater, there has never been an ex situ remediation system tailored for the degradation of methane in marine environments. The dynamic and modular biotrickling filter demonstrates the feasibility of methanotrophic bioremediation for the degradation of oceanic methane and chlorinated hydrocarbons in our waterways and oceans.
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