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Evaluation of Bacterial Strategies to promote bioavailability of Hydrophobic pollutants for efficient bioremediation of contaminated soils

Objective



The problem of limited bioavailability is considered one of the major bottle necks for further progress in soil bioremediation technology Contaminants are believed to be bioavailable only when they are present in the aqueous solution. However, since many pollutants sorb to soil constituents or are dissolved in separate phase liquids, the bulk amounts appear to be unavailable to microorganisms.
The proposed project endeavours to identify and characterise bacterial strategies of promoting bioavailability of hydrophobic pollutants and to evaluate the applicability of the microorganisms for in-situ biotreatment. The project thus represents a completely new approach towards the improvement of bioremediation technology.
In its experimental approach, the project will concentrate on the biodegradation of a major group of hydrophobic pollutants, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAH degrading bacteria will be examined, which have been selected not only for their metabolic properties, but also for their ability to degrade PAHs provided in the sorbed or NAPL-dissolved state. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we will examine if such bacteria enhance hydrophobic substrate transfer (i) by means of the emulsifying properties of their cell surfaces and/or (ii) by adhesion to hydrophobic sorbent materials reducing the distance to the sorbed pollutant. The mass transfer-promoting properties of the bacteria will be examined at the physiological level and genetic level. The importance of bacterial characteristics beyond biochemical capacities, for the degradation of PAHs in soils and the implications for in situ bioremediation, will be evaluated. Such bacterial capabilities may be usable as an innovative biotechnology for maximising the bioavailability of hydrophobic pollutants, through carefully directed stimulation of indigenous bacteria or through inoculation with new strains from this project.
The project partnership includes leading European laboratories experienced in the disciplines of biodegradation, bacterial genetics, bacterial physiology and soil microbial ecology. The level of industrial interest in this proposal is reflected by the involvement of an industrial partner from the bioremediation industry. During the course of the project the industrial partner will act as advisor for the research and development effort, to focus the project towards field relevance and as a liaison with end-users.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

VITO - Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek NV
Address
200,Boeretang 200
2400 Mol
Belgium

Participants (7)

A.S. BIOTEKNISK JORDRENS
Denmark
Address
10,Maglehovej 10
4400 Kalundborg
CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS
Spain
Address
10,Avenida Reina Mercedes 10
41012 Sevilla
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE - MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY
Denmark
Address
399,Frederiksborgvej 399
4000 Roskilde
SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY LAUSANNE
Switzerland
Address
Gr Ecublens
1015 Lausanne
TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF MUNICH
Germany
Address
Am Coulombwall
85748 Garching
UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN
Belgium
Address
54,Avenue Hippocrate 54
1200 Bruxelles
UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM
Netherlands
Address
Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam