Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UMBRELLA against heavy metals

03.09.2009
Microbiologist at Jena University coordinates new EU research collaboration

"Please take" - as simple as following a recipe in a cook book, soils containing heavy metals could be remediated in the future: Depending on the kind of contamination and the conditions on the site in question, the best remediation recipe can be put together - that is the goal of a recently started research project.

UMBRELLA is the name of the project that is coordinated at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. The acronym UMBRELLA stands for "Using MicroBes for the REgulation of heavy metaL mobiLity at ecosystem and landscape scAle", indicating how to regulate heavy metal contamination by means of microbes.

"We want to develop a tool-box from which suitable parts can be chosen to remediate contaminated soils", says Prof. Dr. Erika Kothe from the University of Jena. The Professor for Microbial Phytopathology coordinates the international UMBRELLA team uniting 13 partners from eight European countries. Within the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, the project is funded within a volume of almost EUR 3 million for the next three years. Besides Prof. Kothe's team, geoscientists around Prof. Dr. Büchel from Jena University are involved in UMBRELLA as well.

By "tools" for the soil clean-up the microbiologist Kothe means, of course, microorganisms. The principle is simple: Bacteria and fungi take up heavy metals, like e.g. cadmium, nickel or copper, from the soil and store them. "This way, toxic substances are bound at least temporarily to microbes, relieving output into rivers and ground water", explains Prof. Kothe the effects of the "umbrella" against heavy metals. Apart from microorganisms, also suitable plants will be provided to remove the metals from the soil.

Such useful bacteria and plants can be found wherever there are heavy metals in the ground, for instance in the contaminated soils of the "Wismut" region - the former uranium ore mining area in eastern Thuringia and Saxony. To detect and characterize them systematically will be the focus of UMBRELLA. But not only there. "Throughout Europe we want to investigate six former mining districts", states Prof. Kothe. Apart from the "Wismut" mine waste dumps, the scientists will examine contaminated areas in Rumania, Sweden, Great Britain, Poland and Italy.

At first, those microorganisms and plants withdrawing heavy metals from the soil most efficiently must be identified - depending on the climatic, biological and geological conditions. "On a long-term basis, we want to improve and generalize existing remedial processes", explains Kothe. The microbiologist from Jena University regrets that current guide lines tend to look at soil and water protection separately. "UMBRELLA aims at a more holistic picture, relating the source of contamination to its entry and transport in ground water or rivers up to landscape level modeling." This is why the researchers also collaborate with appropriate authorities, for instance with the Thuringian Institution for Environment and Geology (Thüringer Landesanstalt für Umwelt und Geologie, TLUG).

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Erika Kothe
Institute of Microbiology
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Neugasse 25
D-07743 Jena
Phone: +49 (0)3641 949291
Email: erika.kothe[at]uni-jena.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw
Further information:
http://www.umbrella.uni-jena.de
http://www.uni-jena.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>