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MIBIREM – Toolbox for Microbiome based Remediation

Project description

Innovative technological toolbox for bioremediation

Hundreds of thousands of contaminated sites, posing a significant risk to humans and the environment, require innovative cleaning technologies, as conventional remediation is often too expensive and inefficient. Biotechnological remediation employs the use of living organisms, mostly microbes and bacteria, in the removal of contaminants from the environment. The EU-funded MIBIREM project will develop a unique toolbox for highly efficient bioremediation environmental applications of microbiomes. The project will develop molecular methods for the monitoring, isolation, cultivation and subsequent deposition of whole microbiomes. The toolbox will also include the methodology for the improvement of specific microbiome functions, including evolution and enrichment. The performance of selected microbiomes will be tested under real field conditions.


Microbiomes have high potential to improve biobased processes. For example, in soil and groundwater they can degrade organic contaminants, a process called bioremediation. In Europe about 324,000 severely contaminated sites exist, which pose a risk to humans and the environment. Conventional remediation technologies to clean them are often too expensive and technically Microbiomes have a high potential to improve processes in the bio-based industry. Like the microbiome in the gut, that supports the body in the digestion of food, microbiomes in environmental compartments like soil and groundwater can produce enzymes that can degrade organic contaminants caused by human activities. In MIBIREM we will develop a TOOLBOX that helps to better develop applications for microbiomes. The TOOLBOX includes molecular methods for a better understand and monitoring, isolation and cultivation techniques as well as quality criteria for deposition of whole microbiomes and last, but not least methods that are applied to improve specific functions of microbiomes like microbiome evolution and enrichment cultures and microcosm tests. The TOOLBOX is developed for the environmental applications of microbiomes for ‘bioremediation’. For that purpose, three use-cases were selected. In these three use-cases the degradation of organic contaminants in soil and groundwater by active microbiomes is investigated and developed. The three groups of contaminants are cyanides, hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) and petroleum hydrocarbons (PHC). The project starts with sampling of contaminated sites to isolate microbiomes active in degradation and to gain data for the development of a prediction tool that helps guide bioremediation. Isolated microbiomes and degrading strains will be deposited and will also be improved via laboratory evolution. Finally, the performance of the isolated microbiomes will be tested based on the gained knowledge about degrading microbiomes in pilot tests under real field conditions.


Net EU contribution
€ 607 467,00
Other funding
€ 0,50

Participants (10)