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Colorado State University

Superfund Research Program

Environmental Biotechnology: Kinetics of Microbial Degradation of Organic Pollutant Mixtures

Project Leader: Kenneth F. Reardon
Grant Number: P42ES005949
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000

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Project Summary (1995-2000)

The long-term objectives of this research effort are to understand microbial degradation of pollutant mixtures in soil, water, and bioreactor environments, and to harness this knowledge in the form of enhanced bioreactor technology. Knowledge of these interactions and their kinetics is vital, not only for the design of bioreactors that can be used to remediate contaminated water but also for the prediction of the fate of pollutants in the environment, which is critical for the assessment of ecological and human health risks. Furthermore, knowledge about biodegradation must be relevant to real situations. The thrust of the current project is to expand on previous advances in the modeling of biodegradation by considering much larger mixtures (up to seventeen pollutants) and to focus on two factors that will impact those kinetics: microbial ecology and contaminant sorption. Mathematical models of sorption kinetics will be combined with those developed here for biodegradation.

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