Symbiotic Engineering: A Novel Approach for Environmental Remediation

Areeb I. Hossain, Busra Sonmez Baghirzade, Onur Apul, Mary Jo Kirisits, Subhabrata Dev, Shalini Das, Sabiq Islam, Ching Yao Lai, Henry P. Huntington, Schery Umanzor, Wan Ting Chen, Srijan Aggarwal, Navid B. Saleh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Classical engineering design aims to solve the problem at hand, perhaps not considering potential deleterious consequences to the broader environmental system. Sustainable engineering design has incorporated the environment into the designed solution, but it passively attempts to "not harm"the environment. The recently coined techno-ecological synergy (TES) concept attempts to balance ecological demands (i.e., conventional impacts) with ecological services, either by minimizing ecological impacts or by developing new ecosystems. Beyond these apparently passive approaches, environmentally aligned engineered solutions that engage the environmental inner workings into the solution paradigm are necessitated. Here, we introduce this paradigm-shifting concept, i.e., symbiotic engineering, which can actively engage existing environmental synergies (e.g., interdependence between species) into the engineering solution domain. The perspective discusses natural symbiosis, outlines the principles of symbiotic engineering, and applies this novel construct to propose example solutions to enduring environmental challenges. Hence, this perspective will serve as a milestone in the pursuit of symbiotic engineering to design solutions for large-scale environmental engineering challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-616
Number of pages11
JournalACS ES and T Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 8 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Chemical Health and Safety
  • Environmental Chemistry


  • algal bloom
  • environmental synergy
  • microplastics
  • symbiosis
  • wastewater treatment


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