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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S72467/01
Title: Nanometre-Scale Observation of Biodegradation in Soil and Groundwater
Principal Investigator: Banwart, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Rolfe, Dr S Geoghegan, Professor M Swanson, Dr L
Biggs, Professor CA Scholes, Professor JD Edyvean, Dr R
Lerner, Professor DN
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Environmental Simulations NERC Grouped Shell
Department: Civil and Structural Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 April 2004 Ends: 31 July 2009 Value (£): 729,004
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Assess/Remediate Contamination
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Macroscopic biodegradation rates of organic pollutants will be determined in batch microcosms using pure cultures and mixed cultures of microbial strains from contaminated groundwater. Experiments will be carried out with synthetic oxide mineral analogues of aquifer minerals, deposited on high surface area particles to support biofilm growth and activity, and deposited on smooth plates to allow a range of biological imaging and molecular biology techniques to study biofilm structure and function. Parallel experiments will quantify nanometre-scale physical-chemical forces that control adhesion of microbial cells to mineral surfaces using high-precision potentiometry and FTIR and Fluorescence spectroscopy to elucidate surface chemical structure, and Scanning Force Microscopy to assess cell-mineral interactive forces. Response of cell - mineral surface chemistry, adhesion, biofilm structure and activity, and resulting macroscopic biodegradation rates will be quantified under a range of environmental conditions; i.e. groundwater composition, mineral chemistry, nutrient and redox status. A conceptual framework k to predict trends in biodegradation rates with environmental conditions will be elucidated to identify dominant factors, and to develop mathematical process models. This framework will be tested against observation of environmental samples and from contaminant plume biodearadation rates obtained from contaminated field sites.
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk