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Benner J.,Ghent University | Helbling D.E.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Kohler H.P.E.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Wittebol J.,Bioclear bv | And 9 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2013

In western societies, clean and safe drinking water is often taken for granted, but there are threats to drinking water resources that should not be underestimated. Contamination of drinking water sources by anthropogenic chemicals is one threat that is particularly widespread in industrialized nations. Recently, a significant amount of attention has been given to the occurrence of micropollutants in the urban water cycle. Micropollutants are bioactive and/or persistent chemicals originating from diverse sources that are frequently detected in water resources in the pg/L to μg/L range. The aim of this review is to critically evaluate the viability of biological treatment processes as a means to remove micropollutants from drinking water resources. We first place the micropollutant problem in context by providing a comprehensive summary of the reported occurrence of micropollutants in raw water used directly for drinking water production and in finished drinking water. We then present a critical discussion on conventional and advanced drinking water treatment processes and their contribution to micropollutant removal. Finally, we propose biological treatment and bioaugmentation as a potential targeted, cost-effective, and sustainable alternative to existing processes while critically examining the technical limitations and scientific challenges that need to be addressed prior to implementation. This review will serve as a valuable source of data and literature for water utilities, water researchers, policy makers, and environmental consultants. Meanwhile this review will open the door to meaningful discussion on the feasibility and application of biological treatment and bioaugmentation in drinking water treatment processes to protect the public from exposure to micropollutants. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 3.37M | Year: 2013

The fate of anthropogenic nitrogen is at the core of our environmental predicament. Human activities have more than doubled the annual input of reactive nitrogen to the biosphere compared to prehistoric levels, causing escalating emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) which contributes to global warming and depletion of stratospheric ozone. Ultimately, anthropogenic nitrogen will return to the atmosphere, either as N2, N2O or NO, which are the gaseous products of microbial red/ox-transformations of mineral nitrogen. The N2/N2O/NO product ratio of these transformations is controlled by the ecology and regulatory biology of the organisms involved, modulated by environmental factors. We need better understanding and quantification of these processes to improve our chances to reduce N2O emissions from managed ecosystems (agriculture and waste treatment systems). Such progress requires interdisciplinary scientific approaches in collaboration with the fertilizer and waste-industries. NORA comprises the strongest research groups in Europe regarding the biochemistry, biotechnology, physiology and ecology of N-transforming microbes in soils and wastewater systems, the R&D of leading fertilizer-, waste treatment- and robot- industry. Major goals are to improve our understanding and predictive ability regarding the ecology and regulatory biology of microbes involved in oxidation and reduction of mineral N species affecting atmospheric N2O. produce a new generation of nitrogen researchers, within both academic and private sectors, with inter- and cross-disciplinary skills and understanding and appreciation of both fundament science and its direct application to environmental, industrial and societal issues. exploit the power of fundamental scientific understanding, developed through interdisciplinary research and close interactions between academia, industry and policy makers, to generate specific recommendations, strategies and solutions to reduce nitrous oxide emissions.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2010.3.5-01 | Award Amount: 3.95M | Year: 2011

BIOTREAT brings together six research institutions and four SMEs to develop much-needed water treatment biotechnologies for removing pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other organic micropollutants from contaminated drinking water resources. These biotechnologies will be developed into prototype biofilter systems ready for subsequent commercialisation. The biofilters will contain non-pathogenic pollutant-degrading bacteria, with the bacteria being immobilised on specific carriers to ensure their prolonged survival and sustained degradative activity. Through beyond state-of-the-art research, BIOTREAT will ensure that these novel water treatment biotechnologies are highly transparent, reliable and predictable. Two complementary biotreatment strategies will be followed, one based on metabolic processes whereby the bacteria completely mineralise specific micropollutants and the other based on cometabolic degradation utilising the ability of methane- and ammonium-oxidising bacteria to unspecifically degrade a range of micropollutants for which specific degraders are not yet available. The biofilter systems will be carefully validated through cost-benefit analysis and environmental life cycle assessment. A road map will be drawn up for post-project exploitation, including individual SME business plans. Effective dissemination of the BIOTREAT results will be ensured by close collaboration with an End-user Board comprised of representatives from waterworks, water authorities, industry, etc. In addition to bringing considerable advances to water treatment biotechnology, the main outcome of BIOTREAT will thus be prototype biofilter systems (metabolic and cometabolic) ready for commercialisation in a number of highly relevant water treatment scenarios, including existing sand filters at waterworks, mobile biofilters placed close to groundwater abstraction wells, sand barriers between surface waters and abstraction wells, and protective barriers in aquifers.


Dinkla I.J.T.,Bioclear BV | Gonzalez-Contreras P.,Wageningen University | Gahan C.S.,SRM University | Weijma J.,Wageningen University | And 3 more authors.
Minerals Engineering | Year: 2013

The development of molecular tools for the detection and quantification of both species as well as functional traits, aids in a better understanding and control of microbial processes. Presently, these methods can also be used to assess the activity of these organisms or functions, even in complex ecosystems and difficult matrices such as ores and low pH samples. In this paper we present the versatility of one of these tools, Q-PCR, to allow accurate and fast insight in changes in two types of microbial processes representing two ways in which microbes can interact with metals, bioleaching and bioprecipitation. Using the Q-PCR technique it was possible to identify and quantify the thermoacidophilic archaeon Acidianus sp. to be the main microbial strain responsible for biooxidation of arsenite in a low pH reactor. The method was also used to study the dynamics between the iron oxidizing and sulfur oxidizing acidophiles during bioleaching of a zinc concentrate in a batch reactor system and showed that the iron oxidizer Leptospirillum ferriphilum that dominated the starting culture disappeared upon addition of the concentrate. Gradually, bacterial activity was regained starting with growth of sulfur oxidizers and at later stage iron oxidizers started to grow. Molecular analysis can be used to direct research to the relevant organisms involved and concentrate on improving their application (in the arsenite case Acidianus sp.) or in understanding appearances and disappearances of microorganisms (during leaching of zinc concentrate the disappearance of Leptospirillum after high inoculation levels) in order to allow optimization of leaching efficiencies at the lowest (oxygen) costs. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


de Vet W.W.J.M.,Oasen Drinking Water Company | de Vet W.W.J.M.,Technical University of Delft | Dinkla I.J.T.,Bioclear BV | Abbas B.A.,Technical University of Delft | And 2 more authors.
Biotechnology and Bioengineering | Year: 2012

The growth of iron-oxidizing bacteria, generally regarded as obligate microaerophilic at neutral pH conditions, has been reported in a wide range of environments, including engineered systems for drinking water production. This research focused on intensively aerated trickling filters treating deep anaerobic and subsurface aerated groundwater. The two systems, each comprising groundwater abstraction and trickling filtration, were monitored over a period of 9 months. Gallionella spp. were quantified by qPCR with specifically designed 16S rRNA primers and identified directly in the environmental samples using clone libraries with the same primers. In addition, enrichments in gradient tubes were evaluated after DGGE separation with general bacterial primers. No other iron-oxidizing bacteria than Gallionella spp. were found in the gradient tubes. qPCR provided an effective method to evaluate the growth of Gallionella spp. in these filter systems. The growth of Gallionella spp. was stimulated by subsurface aeration, but these bacteria hardly grew in the trickling filter. In the uninfluenced, natural anaerobic groundwater, Gallionella spp. were only present in low numbers, but they grew extensively in the trickling filter. Identification revealed that Gallionella spp., growing in the trickling filter were phylogenetically distinct from the species found growing during subsurface aeration, indicating that the different conditions in both systems selected for niche organisms, while inhibiting other groups. The results suggest a minor direct significance for inoculation of Gallionella spp. during filtration of subsurface aerated groundwater. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Anterrieu S.,AnoxKaldnes AB | Quadri L.,AnoxKaldnes AB | Geurkink B.,Bioclear BV | Dinkla I.,Bioclear BV | And 11 more authors.
New Biotechnology | Year: 2014

The present investigation has focused on generating a surplus denitrifying biomass with high polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) producing potential while maintaining water treatment performance in biological nitrogen removal. The motivation for the study was to examine integration of PHA production into the water treatment and residuals management needs at the Suiker Unie sugar beet factory in Groningen, the Netherlands. At the factory, process waters are treated in nitrifying-denitrifying sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) to remove nitrogen found in condensate. Organic slippage (COD) in waters coming from beet washing is the substrate used for denitrification. The full-scale SBR was mimicked at laboratory scale. In two parallel laboratory scale SBRs, a mixed-culture biomass selection strategy of anoxic-feast and aerobic-famine was investigated using the condensate and wash water from Suiker Unie. One laboratory SBR was operated as conventional activated sludge with long solids retention time similar to the full-scale (SRT >16 days) while the other SBR was a hybrid biofilm-activated sludge (IFAS) process with short SRT (4-6 days) for the suspended solids. Both SBRs were found to produce biomass with augmented PHA production potential while sustaining process water treatment for carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus for the factory process waters. PHA producing potential in excess of 60 percent g-PHA/g-VSS was achieved with the lab scale surplus biomass. Surplus biomass of low (4-6 days) and high (>16 days) solids retention time yielded similar results in PHA accumulation potential. However, nitrification performance was found to be more robust for the IFAS SBR. Assessment of the SBR microbial ecology based on 16sDNA and selected PHA synthase genes at full-scale in comparison to biomass from the laboratory scale SBRs suggested that the full-scale process was enriched with a PHA storing microbial community. However, structure-function relationships based on RNA levels for the selected PHA synthases could not be established and, towards this ambition, it is speculated that a wider representation of PHA synthesases would need to be monitored. Additionally at the factory, beet tail press waters coming from the factory beet residuals management activities are available as a carbon source for PHA accumulation. At pilot scale, beet tail press waters were shown to provide a suitable carbon source for mixed culture PHA production in spite of otherwise being of relatively low organic strength (≤10. g-COD/L). A copolymer of 3-hydroxybutyrate with 3-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV with 15% HV on a molar basis) of high thermal stability and high weight average molecular mass (980. kDa) was produced from the beet tail press water. The mixed culture accumulation process sustained PHA storage with parallel biomass growth of PHA storing bacteria suggesting a strategy to further leverage the utilization of surplus functional biomass from biological treatment systems. Integration of PHA production into the existing factory water management by using surplus biomass from condensate water treatment and press waters from beet residuals processing was found to be a feasible strategy for biopolymer production. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Maphosa F.,Wageningen University | Lieten S.H.,Bioclear BV | Dinkla I.,Bioclear BV | Stams A.J.,Wageningen University | And 2 more authors.
Frontiers in Microbiology | Year: 2012

Organohalide compounds such as chloroethenes, chloroethanes, and polychlorinated benzenes are among the most significant pollutants in the world. These compounds are often found in contamination plumes with other pollutants such as solvents, pesticides, and petroleum derivatives. Microbial bioremediation of contaminated sites, has become commonplace whereby key processes involved in bioremediation include anaerobic degradation and transformation of these organohalides by organohalide respiring bacteria and also via hydrolytic, oxygenic, and reductive mechanisms by aerobic bacteria. Microbial ecogenomics has enabled us to not only study the microbiology involved in these complex processes but also develop tools to better monitor and assess these sites during bioremediation. Microbial ecogenomics have capitalized on recent advances in high-throughput and -output genomics technologies in combination with microbial physiology studies to address these complex bioremediation problems at a system level. Advances in environmental metagenomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics have provided insights into key genes and their regulation in the environment. They have also given us clues into microbial community structures, dynamics, and functions at contaminated sites. These techniques have not only aided us in understanding the lifestyles of common organohalide respirers, for example Dehalococcoides, Dehalobacter, and Desulfitobacterium, but also provided insights into novel and yet uncultured microorganisms found in organohalide respiring consortia. In this paper, we look at how ecogenomic studies have aided us to understand the microbial structures and functions in response to environmental stimuli such as the presence of chlorinated pollutants. © 2012 Maphosa,Lieten,Din- kla, Stams, Smidt and Fennell.


Patent
Dutch Space B V and Bioclear B.V. | Date: 2010-09-22

A sample preparation system comprises a swab unit and a base station. The swab unit comprises a swab element for taking a sample, a treatment chamber for decomposing the sample into biological substances, such as DNA, a fluid circuit between said swab element and said treatment chamber for transporting a mixture of said fluid and said sample from the swab element into said treatment chamber, as well as docking means for accommodating the swab unit. When the swab unit is accommodated by the docking means of the base station, a fluid interface is provided for transferring fluid from the base station into the swab unit. Furthermore a detection interface is provided enabling the detection of said biological substances.


PubMed | Bioclear BV and AnoxKaldnes AB
Type: Journal Article | Journal: New biotechnology | Year: 2014

The present investigation has focused on generating a surplus denitrifying biomass with high polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) producing potential while maintaining water treatment performance in biological nitrogen removal. The motivation for the study was to examine integration of PHA production into the water treatment and residuals management needs at the Suiker Unie sugar beet factory in Groningen, the Netherlands. At the factory, process waters are treated in nitrifying-denitrifying sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) to remove nitrogen found in condensate. Organic slippage (COD) in waters coming from beet washing is the substrate used for denitrification. The full-scale SBR was mimicked at laboratory scale. In two parallel laboratory scale SBRs, a mixed-culture biomass selection strategy of anoxic-feast and aerobic-famine was investigated using the condensate and wash water from Suiker Unie. One laboratory SBR was operated as conventional activated sludge with long solids retention time similar to the full-scale (SRT >16 days) while the other SBR was a hybrid biofilm-activated sludge (IFAS) process with short SRT (4-6 days) for the suspended solids. Both SBRs were found to produce biomass with augmented PHA production potential while sustaining process water treatment for carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus for the factory process waters. PHA producing potential in excess of 60 percent g-PHA/g-VSS was achieved with the lab scale surplus biomass. Surplus biomass of low (4-6 days) and high (>16 days) solids retention time yielded similar results in PHA accumulation potential. However, nitrification performance was found to be more robust for the IFAS SBR. Assessment of the SBR microbial ecology based on 16sDNA and selected PHA synthase genes at full-scale in comparison to biomass from the laboratory scale SBRs suggested that the full-scale process was enriched with a PHA storing microbial community. However, structure-function relationships based on RNA levels for the selected PHA synthases could not be established and, towards this ambition, it is speculated that a wider representation of PHA synthesases would need to be monitored. Additionally at the factory, beet tail press waters coming from the factory beet residuals management activities are available as a carbon source for PHA accumulation. At pilot scale, beet tail press waters were shown to provide a suitable carbon source for mixed culture PHA production in spite of otherwise being of relatively low organic strength ( 10 g-COD/L). A copolymer of 3-hydroxybutyrate with 3-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV with 15% HV on a molar basis) of high thermal stability and high weight average molecular mass (980 kDa) was produced from the beet tail press water. The mixed culture accumulation process sustained PHA storage with parallel biomass growth of PHA storing bacteria suggesting a strategy to further leverage the utilization of surplus functional biomass from biological treatment systems. Integration of PHA production into the existing factory water management by using surplus biomass from condensate water treatment and press waters from beet residuals processing was found to be a feasible strategy for biopolymer production.

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