Industrial biotechnology can be applied to a number of environmental situations, such as maximising the recovery of resources with minimal energy use and environmental impact. For example, to combat the global scarcity of phosphorous, scientists are looking to use biotechnology to recover phosphorous from sewage through the use of phosphorous-accumulating microorganisms. Similar processes can be used to recover other minerals, compounds and even energy from wastewaters.
Through the use of microbes and microbial fermentations for enzyme production and environmental bioremediation, industrial biotechnology also plays a role in the security of global food and water supplies. Animal feed enzymes are now widely used in livestock production to increase uptake of the natural plant sources of phosphorous thereby reducing the addition of inorganic phosphates and reducing phosphate pollution in wastewaters. Animal feed enzymes also decrease anti-nutritional factors and increase energy uptake from the feed, leading to less waste, healthier animals and improved farm economics. Livestock is a major industry in Queensland with strong associated industries such as feed milling and enzyme supplement formulation and supply. The industry has a strong track record of partnering with universities such as The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and James Cook University to deliver new feed products and test them in the field.