Grey Biotech or environmental biotechnology
Grey Biotech is the biotechnology sector dealing with all applications regarding the environment, in particular, the protection of biodiversity and the removal of pollutants through bioremediation technologies.
It includes soil treatment by bio-pile, a bioremediation technology, employing stratification of soils contaminated by organic or inorganic (heavy metals) pollutants with soil rich in bacteria that remove pollutants.
Properly selected natural or engineered microorganisms have proved able to rapidly degrade the pollutants down to acceptable levels, allowing to reclaim vast areas of land or water.
IImportant applications of this technology are currently available for the purification of waste water and of urban and industrial waste.
Furthermore, phytoremediation techniques are also in an advanced stage of research. They exploit the ability of certain plants to absorb heavy metals and other compounds present in the soil (oils exhaust, etc.). Plant varieties engineered to be "scavengers" are increasingly efficient in contaminated environments.
Environmental diagnostics is also to be considered. In fact, Biotech processes afford refined and sensitive diagnostic systems able to detect, in real time, the degree of soil or water pollution.