D) Bioremediation

1. Biodegradation and revalorisation of polycyclic aromatic compounds in contaminated sites

Biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic compounds is a complex process, involving many different microorganisms. Accordingly, here we propose using naturally isolated consortia for oil degradation and combining different species together to determine the most efficient multispecies consortium in such an activity. In such a system cells must be immobilized into bio carriers and stabilized for further application in biodegradation process. The student will develop methods for preparing such consortia and measuring physiological properties using flow citometry methods. In addition, student will closely collaborate with organic chemistry analytic group.

Mentor: dr. Aleš Lapanje (ales.lapanje@ijs.si)

2. Development of technology for immobilization of radionuclides with bacteria

Radionuclides, such as uranium, can uncontrollably leach out from waste heaps of past uranium mining and pose a threat to the environment. As uranium solubility is dependent from the redox potential, it can be immobilized in reducing conditions. Bacteria are capable of inducing such redox changes and consequently immobilize uranium from leachate. Student will try to develop technology where bacteria will be used for such purposes. After suitable strains identifications and improvement, efficiency of uranium immobilization will be tested and optimized at laboratory scale with vision of scale-up for real world application.

Mentors: dr. Marko Štrok (marko.strok@ijs.si), dr. Aleš Lapanje (ales.lapanje@ijs.si)

3. Development of biological systems for tritium separation from water

Tritium is radioactive isotope of hydrogen, which is routinely released from nuclear installations as there is no efficient technology to sequester it from waste stream. This is due to similarity with hydrogen, which makes its separation possible only using isotope fractionation phenomenon. Student will try to develop novel, bio-based system on cyanobacteria producing hydrogen and oxygen for detritiation of water contaminated with tritium.

Mentor: dr. Marko Štrok (marko.strok@ijs.si), dr. Aleš Lapanje (ales.lapanje@ijs.si)