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 Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>