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A Spanish SME devoted to biomolecular analysis for the environment requests collaboration to complete its experiments to develop new solutions to improve hydrocarbon contaminated soils bioremediation. The company looks for partners working with bioreactors that can provide samples. The SME is willing to reach a service agreement or a technical cooperation agreement.
Biopile treatment is a full-scale technology in which excavated soils are mixed with soil amendments and placed on a treatment area. Its operational duration and maintenance is considered as short-term, lasting a few weeks to several months. Thus, within this process, there are two key factors for the industry in the biological transformation of pollutants in bioremediation using biopiles:
1) The time it takes for the microbiota to degrade the waste material to the required concentration.
2) The ability of the microbiota to eliminate the pollutants of interest.
Usually, the biological transformation monitoring has been carried out by controlling the physicochemical variables and the concentrations of the chemical compounds to be eliminated. However, despite being the key element in the transformation sought, there is absolutely no knowledge nor control about the biological communities that carry out this process and their behavior. In those rare cases where a control of the microorganisms is carried out, this is done by a very traditional method. Such method implies collecting samples and cultivating bacteria for their identification. But some species are difficult or even impossible to cultivate, making these controls insufficient and ineffective. In addition, in areas where the number of species is high, this process is extremely complex.
The project the Basque company is developing aims to demonstrate innovative genetic techniques (also called metasequencing, metagenetics or metabarcoding) to understand the factors that influence the biological transformation of contaminants. The microorganisms involved are analyzed by biogenetic/taxonomic techniques to discover mechanisms to increase their bio-stimulation. In this way, in addition to the microorganisms present in the biopiles, the process proposed by the company takes into account the activity of the genes involved in the degradation of these compounds.
With the information to be collected in this project, temporary forecasts could be made, allowing, in this way, the possibility to intervene on the bioreactors. Being able to interfere biologically in the process of treating soils contaminated with hydrocarbons, will make the process more efficient and faster, translating this knowledge into a highly competitive capacity in the field of bioremediation.
Similar studies are being carried out around the world, many of them at the research level, with results just on a very small scale. Within this scenario, the Basque company intends to carry out an in-situ research and with experimental objectives focused on solving the problems associated with bioremediation that the current market is facing. Therefore, if the project is successful, the company would gain the big competitive advantage of having real scale operational bioreactors in place.
The company is looking for a technical cooperation agreement or a service agreement as they are looking for Hydrocarbon bioremediation bioreactors samples on a monthly basis to carry on their described project.
The company is looking for organizations managing or in charge of bioreactors for hydrocarbon bioremediation. The bioreactor should have the following characteristics:
- To be assembled de novo.
- Must have, if possible, low concentrations of heavy metals such as Pb, Zn or Cu. This is due to the fact that the presence of heavy metals as co-contaminants negatively impacts the rate of hydrocarbon biodegradation, the associated ecotoxicity as well as the activity and diversity of the natural microbial communities which are the backbone of any bioremediation process.
- Be functioning over the entire degradation process, ensuring a monthly provision of samples during the company’s project’s lifespan.
The development of the product is framed in a 2-year project which started at the beginning of 2021. The company is already testing bioreactors in its region (Basque Country) and there is a need to cover more experimentation areas.
At the end of the project a patent will be applied for
The Basque SME is open to different types of organizations and partnerships: academia, public research centres, SMEs and also large companies that are working in the bioremediation, biostimulation, waste manager or polluted soils managing sectors.
The company requires to cooperate with an entity ready to offer a regular supply of samples of bioreactor degrading hydrocarbons and / or contaminated soils.
The SME is willing to reach a service to reach a service agreement or a technical cooperation agreement.