How Does Biotechnology Help Clean Up The Environment?

How Does Biotechnology Help Clean Up The Environment?


Amjad Bajes Khalil
Associate professor of Biotechnology
Department of Biology
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
Dhahran-Saudi Arabia

*This video was sponsored by Saudi Aramco and produced by Sultan Bin Abdel Aziz Science & Technology Center

Lesson Feedback


The objective of this lesson is to introduce students to one of the most important issues affecting human life and health in the 21st century, the application of modern biotechnology to the problems of environmental pollution. It aims to involve students in understanding and thinking about the role of indigenous microorganisms (bacteria for example) in cleaning up the environment. This lesson provides visual and interactive methods to help clean up the environment and reduce oil pollution. It also introduces students to the concept of biotechnology. These concepts will stimulate students thinking skills and answer the following questions: How does bacteria feed on oil and break it into smaller particles? What is the result of this degradation? There are no prerequisites for this lesson, and it can be completed in a 45 – 50 minute class period. The types of classroom activities suggested for the video breaks include: looking for other microorganisms and their applications for cleaning up the environment; and looking for other applications such as removal of herbicides and pesticides from the soil and water, using different bacterial strains. No special supplies are needed for this lesson.

Instructor Biography

Dr. Khalil holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Biotechnology from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA. He is working as an associate professor in the department of Biology at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. His areas of research are Microbial biotechnology of Thermophiles and Nanobiotechnology application of water disinfection from pathogenic bacteria. Dr. Khalil is also teaching several biology courses.

Additional Online Resources

Wisconsin Biotechnology Center: BioTreck
This site, presented by the Science Outreach Program of the University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center, provides a student-oriented discussion of how biotechnology helps clean up the environment.

Experiment Demonstrating Oil Bioremediation
This site, sponsored by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, outlines a simple experiment that students can perform to demonstrate oil bioremediation.

Science in School: A clean green sweep: an aquatic bioremediation project
This site, hosted by Science in School, outlines an experiment that can be done to use plants rather than micro-organisms for aquatic bioremediation.