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Water contaminants

Urban wastewaters contain substances that are very difficult to degrade, and especially wastewater from hospitals is problematic as it contains many pharmaceuticals.

The efficiency of xenobiotic removal in conventional wastewater treatment systems is inadequate for many recalcitrant compounds, such as pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and pesticides, many of which are already included in the European watch list of emerging pollutants.

Centre for Water Technology possesses great expertise in the analysis of these compounds, understanding their degradation as well as their removal in sand-filters and other fixed-film reactors (Professor Kai Bester, ENVS and others).

The development of biofilms that can degrade such compounds in water purification systems is highly dependent on the establishment of a pool of genes, and the Centre possess great expertise in  metagenomics studies of the community composition and the spread of degradative-genes among these communities.

Establishment of specific pesticide degrading microorganisms in two compartment bioreactors to degrade pesticides in drinking water is a current activity in a project supported by the Innovation Fund. 

Centre for Water Technology is focusing on developing these studies, particularly the development of energy-efficient fixed-film and fluidized bed systems based on an electric conductive substrate onto which a biofilm containing electroactive bacteria.

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