Toolbox for Microbiome based Remediation

01 October 2022 → 31 March 2027
European funding: framework programme
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Analysis of next-generation sequence data
    • Microbiomes
    • Soil sciences, challenges and pollution not elsewhere classified
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Biotechnology for agricultural, forestry, fisheries and allied sciences not elsewhere classified
bioremediation microbiome
Other information
Project description

Microbiomes have high potential to improve biobased processes. For example, in soil and groundwater they can degrade organic contaminants, a process called bioremediation. In Europe about 324,000 severely contaminated sites exist, which pose a risk to humans and the environment. Conventional remediation technologies to clean them are often too expensive and technically Microbiomes have a high potential to improve processes in the bio-based industry. Like the microbiome in the gut, that supports the body in the digestion of food, microbiomes in environmental compartments like soil and groundwater can produce enzymes that can degrade organic contaminants caused by human activities. In MIBIREM we will develop a TOOLBOX that helps to better develop applications for microbiomes. The TOOLBOX includes molecular methods for a better understand and monitoring, isolation and cultivation techniques as well as quality criteria for deposition of whole microbiomes and last, but not least methods that are applied to improve specific functions of microbiomes like microbiome evolution and enrichment cultures and microcosm tests. The TOOLBOX is developed for the environmental applications of microbiomes for ‘bioremediation’. For that purpose, three use-cases were selected. In these three use-cases the degradation of organic contaminants in soil and groundwater by active microbiomes is investigated and developed. The three groups of contaminants are cyanides, hexachlorocyclohexane and petroleum hydrocarbons. The project starts with sampling of contaminated sites to isolate microbiomes active in degradation and to gain data for the development of a prediction tool that helps guide bioremediation. Isolated microbiomes and degrading strains will be deposited and will also be improved via laboratory evolution. Finally, the performance of the isolated microbiomes will be tested based on the gained knowledge about degrading microbiomes in pilot tests under real field conditions.

Role of Ghent University
The main roles of Ghent University are: To perform high-throughput isolation of bioremediation consortia and provide axenic cultures to other partners; To set quality standards for the long-term preservation of bioremediation consortia; To organize public deposits of bioremediation bacteria and their annotated genome sequences; To organize public deposits of bioremediation consortia.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the authority can be held responsible for them.