Bioremediation of contaminated sites

We’re developing new biotechnical processes and approaches to remediate contaminated sites.

The Challenge

Environmental contamination by urban, industrial and agricultural activities

Contamination of soil, ground water and surface water is caused by various urban activities, industrial operations, intensive agricultural practices, and improper transport and disposal of wastes.

The most common contaminants are petroleum hydrocarbons, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers and metals. Contamination threatens ecosystem functions, decreases biodiversity, and causes potential risks to human health.

Our Response

New approaches to clean up contamination

Our work with universities and industry is increasing the fundamental understanding of natural microbial attenuation of a range of pollutants in contaminated environments.

We also develop and optimise bioprocesses for remediating sites with organic and inorganic contaminants. The remediation approaches range from in situ treatment to on site bioreactor processes. We use both mixed microbial communities as well as isolated microorganisms that degrade specific pollutants.

Examples of our research projects include:

  • Phytoremediation
  • Natural attenuation and bioremediation of sites contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons
  • Acid mine drainage treatment
  • Biotechnical treatment of acidic groundwater from acid sulfate soils.

The Results

Improved ecosystem functions and protected biodiversity

The knowledge and bioprocesses generated in our research helps to remediate contaminated sites. This improves ecosystem functions, protects biodiversity and decreases potential health risks from contaminated sites.

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