The results obtained from the microbiological, biochemical, kinetic, spectroscopic and crystallographic studies will finally be used to design biological systems suitable for upgrading and useful for the bioremediation of polluted sites. Therefore, as a final task (Task E) studies are performed directed at stable reintroduction into the polluted environment of organisms proved most suitable in laboratory pilot experiments for the biodegradation of relevant aromatic pollutants. Thus, bioremediation of the contaminated sites in the Caspian Sea and its ingressing rivers can be undertaken.
Bioremediation is the most advanced frontier for trying to resolve the increasing environmental problems of industrialized countries where the widespread use of organic polychlorinated substances and the spills from oil- and gas production and -transportation represent major sources of pollution of soil, surface and deep water resources. The objective of the present proposal is the bioremediation of the Caspian Sea, including its ingressing rivers, such as Volga'Oka and Kama Belaya, which are all badly contaminated because of spills resulting from oil- and gas-production and -transportation because of industrial and agro-industrial waste.
The (poly)aromatic pollutants present in the contaminated ecosystem represent one of the major polluting components that are good candidates for removal by bioremediative techniques. The isolation and identification of new microorganisms capable of degrading a large spectrum of (poly)aromatics and able to survive in the mixed microorganism population when reintroduced into polluted environments would represent a great technological progress in the field of bioremediation. To achieve this objective is the main aim of the present proposal.
Research in the field of bioremediation is typically interdisciplinary, as it involves microbiologists, biochemists and chemists. The present project combines groups that will integrate these scientific fields within the research project. In a joined collaboration between participants 1, 2 and 4 major contaminated areas and also the major type of polluting aromatic compounds contributing to the environmental pollution of the Caspian Sea and its ingressing rivers will be defined (Task A). Furthermore, in the CEC/NIS laboratories of participants 2 and 4 of the present proposal, new microorganisms from the polluted areas in the Caspian Sea and its ingressing rivers will be isolated and identified and their metabolic pathways clarified (Task B and C). New interesting species will be harvested and the relevant rate- and substrate-specificity limiting enzymes will be purified and characterized with respect to the factors that cause the substrate- and rate limitations (Task D).
Furthermore, data obtained from spectroscopic and kinetic analyses, will be fitted to theoretical models using molecular modelling and quantum chemical approaches. This should explain and predict a priori the reactivity of a given substrate and be of practical importance for establishing the fate of a given aromatic compound present in the polluted environment when an attempt for its bioremediative removal is undertaken.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts