Hydrogenotrophic Driven Biodegradation of Organic Micropollutants Involving Hydrogen Oxidizing Bacteria

01 November 2022 → 31 October 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Water resources management
    • (Waste)water treatment processes
    • Environmental microorganism biotechnology
    • Environmental technologies
hydrogenotrophic driven biodegradation organic micropollutants hydrogen oxidizing bacteria
Project description

The occurrence of organic micropollutants (OMPs) at trace concentrations in the aquatic environment has become a growing concern in recent years. Biodegradation is an attractive approach for OMPs removal. Since the low concentrations of OMPs limit the growth of degrading bacteria as the main energy source, resulting in diminishing degradation rates, periodically dosing of assimilable organic carbon (AOCs) is considered in previous studies. However, the higher enzyme affinities for AOCs and the growth of the competing indigenous microbial community on AOCs can also jeopardize the OMP biodegradation. Recent evidence shows that viable bacteria can utilize H2 as the energy source to survive the oligotrophic environment. Inspired by the discovery, we propose hydrogen-driven biodegradation of OMPs involving hydrogen oxidizing bacteria (HOBs). A long-term OMP degradation will be achieved by applying H2 as the additional energy source. OMP degrading HOBs will be obtained by enrichment from the environment and transfer of OMP catabolic gene clusters (plasmids) into the model strain (Cupriviadus necator H16). Besides, the known OMP degraders will be investigated to sustain biodegradation supported by H2. The BAM degrader Aminobacter sp. MSH1 will be selected as a model strain since it was identified to encode the hydrogenase gene by genome annotation. An H2-based hollow-fiber membrane biofilm reactor will be designed to investigate the application potential of the obtained cultures.