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Bioaugmentation- the addition of bacterial cultures required to speed up the rate of degradation of a contaminant.

Usually the steps involve studying the indigenous varieties present in the location to determine if biostimulation is possible. If the indigenous variety do not have the metabolic capability to perform the remediation process, exogenous varieties with such sophisticated pathways are introduced.

Bioaugmentation is commonly used in municipal wastewater treatment to restart activated sludge bioreactors. Most cultures available contain a research based consortium of Microbial cultures, containing all necessary microorganisms (B. licheniformis, B. thurengensis, P. polymyxa, B. sterothemophilus, Penicillium sp., Aspergillus sp., Flavobacterium, Arthrobacter, Pseudomonas, Streptomyces, Saccharomyces, Triphoderma, etc.). Whereas activated sludge systems are generally based on microorganisms like bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, rotifers and fungi capable to degrade bio degradable organic matter.

Bioaugmentation of chlorinated solvents[edit]

At sites where soil and groundwater are contaminated with chlorinated ethenes, such as tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, bioaugmentation is used to ensure that the in situ microorganisms can completely degrade these contaminants to ethylene and chloride, which are non-toxic. Bioaugmentation is typically only applicable to bioremediation of chlorinated ethenes, although there are emerging cultures with the potential to biodegrade other compounds including BTEX, chloroethanes, chloromethanes, and MTBE. The first reported application of bioaugmentation for chlorinated ethenes was at Kelly Air Force Base, TX (Major et al., 2002).

Bioaugmentation is typically performed in conjunction with the addition of electron donor (biostimulation) to achieve geochemical conditions in groundwater that favor the growth of the dechlorinating microorganisms in the bioaugmentation culture.


  • Andrea Leeson, Bruce C. Alleman, Pedro J. J. Alvarez, Victor S. Magar (Hrsg.): Bioaugmentation, biobarriers, and biogeochemistry: the Sixth International In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation Symposium. San Diego, California, June 4-7, Battelle Press 2001, Band 6, ISBN 1-57477-110-8.
  • Donald Lee Wise (Hrsg.): Bioremediation of contaminated soils. CRC Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8247-0333-2.