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Modeling mICRObial LIFE in Polluted AQuiferS

Project description

Comprehensive modelling of microbe behaviour supporting bioremediation of polluted aquifers

Aquifers are bodies of rock and/or sediment that hold groundwater, which supplies drinking water to a significant percentage of the population worldwide. Groundwater pollution is a growing problem affecting the health of people and ecosystems and reducing access to clean water. Degrading bacteria can be used to reduce groundwater pollution in aquifers via bioremediation. However, use of this method is not optimal due to a lack of accurate models that consider the metabolism of microorganisms and their physical interaction with the porous medium. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the MICROLIFEPAQS project will enhance pollutant biodegradation modelling via modern and newly collected microbiological omics data to support advanced bioremediation strategies.


Groundwater pollution is a significant threat to human health and ecosystems and one of the leading causes of limited access to good-quality water resources worldwide. Biodegradation is an effective means to remove chemicals from the environment, and several remediation techniques benefit from degrading bacteria to eliminate pollution from aquifers. Reactive Transport Models (RTMs) have proved to be valuable tools to support remediation. However, efforts made so far to model biodegradation in polluted aquifers have been incomplete, as they did not thoroughly consider that microorganisms’ behaviour in groundwater depends on their metabolism and physical interaction with the porous medium.
The MICROLIFEPAQS project aims at implementing a novel and interdisciplinary approach for pollutant biodegradation modelling as reliable support for groundwater remediation optimisation. Modern and newly collected microbiological omics data will constrain RTMs of degrading bacteria with information about their metabolism. Moreover, microorganisms will be considered as reactive biocolloids moving in the subsoil. This omics-informed RTM of biocolloids will be tested in a contaminated test site, considering naturally occurring bacteria or injected/stimulated for bioaugmentation/biostimulation.
Working on this project at the Delft University of Technology will enrich my existing expertise with advanced skills in reactive transport modelling and microbiological analysis modelling. Moreover, the secondment at the Technical University of Denmark will provide additional knowledge about innovative contaminated site investigation and advanced (bio)remediation strategies. This transfer of knowledge will foster research and innovation on these topics. As the United Nations and European Union strive to eliminate pollution to reduce the risk for human health and ecosystems and secure safe water resources and sanitation for everyone, this project will also contribute to this global challenge.

Funding Scheme



Net EU contribution
€ 187 624,32
Stevinweg 1
2628 CN Delft

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West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Delft en Westland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
No data

Partners (1)