NUFEB and a Synthetic Biology driven approach to improve wastewater treatment

by Martin Sim

16:00 (40 min) in CT 7.01

NUFEB is a project which brings together scientists from multiple disciplines across Newcastle University along with key industrial partners. By working together and sharing knowledge across teams, we hope to understand and enhance a particular biology based engineering application and break ground in multiple areas. NUFEB is currently working to model and improve the complex biological communities involved in the wastewater treatment process.

Current wastewater treatment processes are able to remove the vast majority of contaminants from sewage before release into the environment. However, ng/L quantities of micropollutants still persist even after treatment. These can accumulate within aquatic species and habitats to lead to numerous adverse effects. One such micropollutant is the endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) estrogen. The NUFEB Synthetic Biology team is hoping to discover more about how bacterial species and communities contribute to the breakdown and removal of synthetic estrogen (EE2), which is the most potent EDC present in wastewater. Using a number of cutting edge molecular biology techniques we aim to improve EE2 breakdown and removal. This talk will introduce our current and planned work.