The main objectives are defined as follows :
* Development of a simple, easy to use technology for nitrate and pesticide removal in drinking water treatment.
Part of the population of EU- and non-EU-countries is living in rural areas. Especially small communities and hamlets risk not to provide a safe water to their inhabitants. The intense use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture is a main source of deterioration of ground- and surface water. The EEC-directive on quality of water for human consumption (1980) requires a max. admissible concentration in water of 11.3 mg/L N-NO3-, 0.1 mg/L N-NO2- and 0.1 ug/L pesticide per single substance, 0.5 ug/L as total pesticide content.
* To create a web for analytical quality control between the partners, which may lead to a nucleus for national proficiency testing of pesticides
The realization of this project may contribute to expand "low biotechnology" applications in drinking water treatment beyond classical processes realized until now.
We expect from the different systems proposed a basis for a simple and "easy-to-use" technology for denitrification and pesticide removal. It is a scientific and engineering challenge to produce a good water quality with simple and affordable means.
The key activities involve :
* Test of several substrates in semi-batch and continuous flow reactors.
1. Heterotrophic denitrification with natural organic solid substrates (e.g. straw, bark of woods, hydrolyzed birchwood, Glycyrrhiza glabra). Advantages : materials are cheap, easy to obtain.
2. Heterotrophic denitrification with biodegradable polymers (e.g. Poly-beta-Hydroxy-Butyric acid (PHB), Poly-(-Caprolactone (PCL)).
3. Chemolithotrophic denitrification using sulfur.
* The examination of pesticide elimination in denitrifying reactors. An evaluation of how these conditions affect fungal activity and pesticide removal has to be investigated. Whether PHB, PCL and other biodegradable polymers act as sink for pesticides will be examined by sorption isotherms. There are hints that in analogy to polyethylene (PE) a strong sorptive capacity exist.
* The elaboration of an easy-to-use standard operation procedure (SOP) for pesticide analysis. The method will use a solid phase extraction process and GC and HPLC-methods for their separation and detection.
* Isolation and determination of bacteria and fungi, which essentially govern the denitrification and pesticide removal process. The interaction of fungi and bacteria, enhancement or inhibition have consequences on the reactor configuration.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts