As reflected in the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and in the Decision 2455/2001/EC the European Union has demonstrated its concern in the field of water policy, particularly in the establishment of a list of the most hazardous pollutants for the aquatic environment.
Organometallic species such as tributyltin and its degradation products, Hg and its compounds as well as Pb and its compounds have been already included in this list and qualified as priority pollutants.
Unravelling the biogeochemical cycle of organometallic contaminants still remains a difficult and unexplored task and needs to be evaluated through an interdisciplinary research in which the analytical and the environmental chemistry must collaborate with other scientific disciplines.
In this project the great potential provided by the use of stable isotopically enriched species when investigating dynamic environmental processes will be exploited to propose metabolic pathways controlling the transformations and sequestration of organometallic contaminants by bacteria.
The investigation of both the reactivity and interaction of organometallic contaminants versus anaerobic microorganisms would help to understand the fate and potential ecotoxicity and to propose strategies for the microbially mediated abatement of these toxic species before being released into the environment.
For this purpose the applicant as well as the host institution will collaborate deeply throughout this project with other research groups from the field of microbiology, ecotoxicology and biogeochemistry.
Fields of science
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