Applications and Implications of Emerging Biotechnologies in Environmental Engineering
© 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers. Adopting and adapting emerging biotechnologies presents promise and challenges to the environmental engineer. Emerging biotreatment technologies that employ synthetic biology approaches, genetic engineering, and nanotechnologies present unique risk, reliability, and resilience profiles, especially given their unknown potential effects on human health and the environment. Decisions on whether and how to apply these technologies are challenging in light of the uncertainties about the potential environmental and health implications, including any downstream effects. Environmental engineers must balance the benefits of remediation, waste treatment, and other applications with these potential adverse effects by employing a systems view of the complexities in time and space to address the difficult-to-predict intended and unintended outcomes because these applications have few precedents. Insights and possible approaches to address these complexities and uncertainties are presented in this state-of-the-art review.
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