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Detoxification of toxic industrial waste: microbial degradation of polycarbonated biphenyls (PCBS) by sequential anaerobic-aerobic processes


To obtain information on:

1) the feasibility of a process to mineralize highly chlorinated biphenyls (formation of inorganic compounds like Coz, HCI) by a suitable sequential anaerobic-aerobic process and

2) its application (especially the factors which are determining the kinetics of the degradation process in a bio-reactor).

The proposed project consists of four parts:

1) Establishment of anaerobic microbial populations from polluted soil/sediments, capable of reductive dechlorination of highly chlorinated biphenyls to lower chlorinated biphenyls. Research is focused on the occurrence of this process in polluted soils and sediments, the kinetics of the process and the influence of various (environmental) factors, and the bacteria involved.

2) Establishment of aerobic bacterial cultures, capable of mineralizing low chlorinated biphenyls, by isolation from polluted soils/sediments or by In vivo-construction. Research is focused on the biochemistry and kinetics of degradation.

3) Genetic analysis of the isolated and in vivo-constructed aerobic PCB-degrading organisms and genetic engineering of these strains which includes i.e. the introduction of heavy metal resistance genes and marker genes. Research is focused on the molecular biology of PCB- degradation pathways and genes of heavy metal resistance.

4) Investigations on the biotechnology of the anaerobic/aerobic process. Research is focused on the procedure to clean contaminated soils and wastes in bioreactors.

Call for proposal

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Bergische Universität - Gesamthochschule Wuppertal
EU contribution
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Gaußstraße 20
42119 Wuppertal

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Participants (3)