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Janmejay Pandey, Archana Chauhan, Rakesh K. Jain.

Integrative approaches for assessing the

ecological sustainability of in situ bioremediation. FEMS Microbiology Reviews. Volume 33
Issue 2, Pages 324 – 375.

in situ bioremediation • eco-sustainability • biotic–abiotic interactions • bioavailability •
assessment of bioremediation efficiency, assessment, bioremediation, efficiency, chemico-
biological, interactions, sustainability, biodegradation, contamination, pollutants, bacteria,

ABSTRACT: Application of microbial metabolic potential (bioremediation) is accepted as an

environmentally benign and economical measure for decontamination of polluted environments.
Bioremediation methods are generally categorized into ex situ and in situ bioremediation.
Although in situ bioremediation methods have been in use for two to three decades, they have
not yet yielded the expected results. Their limited success has been attributed to reduced
ecological sustainability under environmental conditions. An important determinant of
sustainability of in situ bioremediation is pollutant bioavailability. Microbial chemotaxis is
postulated to improve pollutant bioavailability significantly; consequently, application of
chemotactic microorganisms can considerably enhance the performance of in situ degradation.
The environmental fate of degradative microorganisms and the ecological consequence of
intervention constitute other important descriptors for the efficiency and sustainability of
bioremediation processes. Integrative use of culture-dependent, culture-independent methods
(e.g. amplified rDNA restriction analysis, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism,
denaturing/thermal gradient gel electrophoresis, phospholipid fatty acid, etc.), computational and
statistical analyses has enabled successful monitoring of the above aspects. The present review
provides a detailed insight into some of the key factors that affect the efficiency of in situ
bioremediation along with a comprehensive account of the integrative approaches used for
assessing the ecological sustainability of processes. The review also discusses the possibility of
developing suicidal genetically engineered microorganisms for optimized and controlled in situ

Janmejay Pandey 1 , Archana Chauhan 1 & Rakesh K. Jain 1

1 Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, India;
Correspondence: Rakesh K. Jain, Institute of Microbial Technology, Sector 39-A, Chandigarh
160036, India. Tel.: +91 172 2690694; fax: +91 172 2690632; e-mail:;

Editor: Martin Kupiec;

Copyright © 2009 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell
Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved;
Published on behalf of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies;
Federation of European Microbiological Societies