Our project 'Cost-Effective Removal of Contaminants of Emerging Concern' started in January, last year, when Ana Belén Ríos Miguel began her PhD at the department of Microbiology at the Radboud University (RU). A few months later, Tamara van Bergen started her PhD at the department of Environmental Science (RU). Together with all project supervisors, Rosalie van Zelm, Ad Ragas, Cornelia Welte, Mike Jetten and project leader Jan Hendriks, we really enjoy the synergistic cooperation of our departments in the CER-CEC project!
On the left picture Tamara van Bergen is measuring samples of a pilot experiment at the GC-MS, and on the right, Ana Rios is preparing nitrifying bioreactors. In the near future, we will grow our own CER-CEC microbial communities!
In October, we presented our first results to the stakeholders of our project. Several waterboards, drinking water companies, water technology companies, and governmental agencies are involved in our project. They were very enthusiastic in the first kick-off meeting and together we discussed the list of chemicals to be investigated in the project, and the selected of suitable wastewater treatment plants to be sampled. We presented our first objectives towards our shared goal: on the one hand assessing and prediction biodegradation of CECs (Environmental Science) and on the other hand optimizing CEC removal and working towards an application (Microbiology). The first results of a shared pilot experiment were presented, which will lead to an assessment of biodegradation rates of several chemicals of emerging concern. At the moment, the biodegradation assays still need optimization and a method for measuring our chemicals in wastewater samples needs to be developed. We will work on those topics the coming period and in addition, Ana Rios will also focus on starting up bioreactors and enrichment experiments. In the meantime, Tamara van Bergen will gain more knowledge on how biological mechanisms affect biodegradation of chemicals and will explore ways to include microbial community changes into biodegradation models. This is expected to lead to an increased understanding and prediction of biodegradation in wastewater treatment plants.