Between 1964 and 1990, the notion of nonlocality in Bell's papers underwent a profound change as his nonlocality theorem gradually became detached from quantum mechanics, and referred to wider probabilistic theories involving correlations between separated beables. The proposition that standard quantum mechanics is itself nonlocal (more precisely, that it violates ‘local causality’) became divorced from the Bell theorem per se from 1976 on, although this important point is widely overlooked in the literature. In 1990, the year of his death, Bell would express serious misgivings about themathematical form of the local causality condition and leave ill-defined the issue of the consistency between special relativity and violation of the Bell-type inequality. In our view, the significance of the Bell theorem, in both its deterministic and stochastic forms, can only be fully understood by taking into account the fact that a fully Lorentz covariant version of quantum theory, free of action at a distance, can be articulated in the Everett interpretation.
John S. Bell's last word on his celebrated nonlocality theorem and its interpretation appeared in his 1990 paper ‘La nouvelle cuisine’, first published in the year of his untimely death. Bell was careful here to distinguish between the issue of ‘no superluminal signalling’ in quantum theory (both quantum field theory and quantum mechanics) and a principle he first introduced explicitly in 1976 and called ‘local causality’ . In relation to the former, Bell expressed concerns that amplify doubts he had already expressed in 1976. These concerns touch on what is now widely known as the no-signalling theorem in quantum mechanics, and ultimately have to do with Bell's distaste for what he saw as an anthropocentric element in orthodox quantum thinking. In relation to local causality, Bell emphasised that his famous factorizability (no-correlations) condition is not to be seen ‘as the formulation of local causality, but as a consequence thereof’ and stressed how difficult he found it to articulate this consequence. He left the question of any strict inconsistency between violation of factorizability and special relativity theory unresolved, a not insignificant shift from his thinking up to the early 1980s.
The principal relevance of ligninolytic fungi to the field of bioremediation lies in their ability to degrade aromatic compounds. There are three groups of aromatics that constitute substantial pollutants: polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene/toluene/ethyl benzene/xylene (BTEX) and the synthetic substituted aromatics typified by the chlorophenols. It may well be that ligninolytic fungi can play a useful role in bioremediation of all three types of pollutant, but the most interest is in degradation of the first and last groups, as BTEX remediation can exploit bacterial populations that promise to be efficient contributors to the process. We will largely be concerned with systems that are of possible direct application to PAH degradation as the halogenated hydrocarbons are degraded by increasingly well-understood biochemical pathways (see Reddy, Gelpke & Gold, 1998; Reddy & Gold, 1999). One of the main difficulties in the development of practical bioremediation processes rests in bringing metabolically active organisms into contact with the pollutant (see Field et al., 1995; Boyle, Wiesner & Richardson, 1998; Head, 1998; Novotny et al., 1999). The secreted enzyme systems of ligninolytic fungi may prove to be a powerful tool for PAH removal, and it is this aspect of their biochemistry to which this chapter is directed.
PAHs are a class of carcinogenic chemical that are formed whenever organic materials are burned; the amount of PAHs in soils coming from atmospheric fall-out have been rising steadily over the twentieth century.
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