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Research Briefs By Category: Bioremediation

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Superfund Research Program

  • 349 - Mapping Microbe Interactions That Support PCB-Degrading Bacteria -- Mattes
    Release Date: 01/10/2024

    Researchers partially funded by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) mapped interactions between microbes that may support the growth of certain bacteria that degrade polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a harmful contaminant. By harnessing those microbial relationships, researchers could improve the bioremediation, or bacterial breakdown, of PCBs from the environment, according to a team led by Timothy Mattes, Ph.D., University of Iowa SRP Center.

  • 347 - High-Temperature Biochar for Arsenic Remediation -- Duckworth
    Release Date: 11/01/2023

    Adding biochar produced at a high temperature may be an effective way to immobilize arsenic in sediment, according to researchers partially funded by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP). The study, led by Owen Duckworth, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill SRP Center, in partnership with researchers from the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, University of São Paulo, Brazil, also provided further insight into the conditions that influenced the effectiveness of biochar for soil remediation.

  • 332 - Improving How Microbes Break Down PFAS -- Men
    Release Date: 08/03/2022

    NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees demonstrated a method to break down per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into smaller, non-toxic molecules. Led by Yujie Men, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside, the team also showed that some types of PFAS can be more easily degraded than others.

  • 330 - Study Sheds Light on Breakdown Products of PCBs in the Environment -- Hornbuckle
    Release Date: 06/01/2022

    NIEHS Superfund Research program (SRP) grantees discovered toxic breakdown products of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in contaminated sediments at proportionally higher levels than found in commercial PCB mixtures. According to the team, these findings point to environmental processes, such as metabolism by animals, plants, or bacteria, in generating the harmful chemicals.

  • 308 - Using Fungi to Clean up Contaminated Soil -- Gunsch
    Release Date: 08/05/2020

    Native fungal communities point to a new way of cleaning up contaminated soil. After conducting a study to characterize fungi found in soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), researchers at the NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program at Duke University discovered a group of fungi that may be promising for remediation.

  • 305 - Arsenic Complicates Groundwater Bioremediation -- Alvarez-Cohen
    Release Date: 05/06/2020

    A common groundwater contaminant, trichloroethene (TCE), can be reduced by certain bacteria, a process known as bioremediation. But, according to a new NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) study, this process may stall when arsenic is present. TCE, a widely used industrial solvent, pollutes groundwater from improper handling practices.

  • 292 - Nitrous Oxide Halts Breakdown of Chlorinated Compounds -- Loeffler
    Release Date: 04/03/2019

    A new Superfund Research Program (SRP) study showed that nitrous oxide (N2O), a groundwater contaminant commonly generated from agricultural runoff, inhibits bacterial degradation of certain chlorinated contaminants, including tetrachloroethene (PCE). The study may explain why bioremediation, or the use of bacteria to break down compounds, can stall at some hazardous waste sites.

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