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.
Examples of common contaminants are petroleum hydrocarbons, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), solvents, pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers and metals. Contamination threatens ecosystem functions, decreases biodiversity, and causes potential risks to human health.
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.
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.