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Effect-directed analysis of micropollutants in water

The currently known environmental micropollutants are generally responsible for less than 1-5% of the total mixture toxicity in wastewaters. This project aims at identifying the key drivers of toxicity in complex mixtures and assess their removal in advanced water purification (bio)technologies.

Therefore, we are developing an innovative bioanalytical technology for high resolution screening of bioactive compounds (i.e. effect-directed analysis, EDA) by developing a direct coupling between liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry and planar bioassays (i.e. in vitro bioassays integrated with TLC).

The project is funded by the Danish Research Foundation.

Bioremediation of oil spills in Arctic marine environments

By a combination of laboratory and field experiments, we investigate oil spill bioremediation in Arctic marine environments. We investigate the fate of oil spills in seawater, sea ice and sediments in Greenland. A particular focus goes to the role of oil-degrading biofilms, which have been observed on the surface of oil droplets.

The research is conducted in close collaboration with the Arctic Research Centre and the Section for Microbiology at the Department of Biology, Aarhus University

Involved researchers: Friederike Gründger, postdoc


High-rate activated sludge for carbon and energy recovery from wastewater

Water treatment is responsible for ~2% of the Danish energy consumption. High rate activated sludge (HRAS) aims at maximising carbon and energy recovery from wastewater. In combination with anaerobic digestion for biogas production or hydrothermal liquefaction for bio-crude oil production, HRAS may recover 60% more carbon and reduce energy requirements by 30% as compared to conventional wastewater treatment plants.

Involved students: Adisak Manaying, master student; Camille van den Langenberg, internship

Integration of hydrothermal liquefaction at wastewater treatment plants for valorization of sewage sludge

This project strives to turn sewage sludge, a waste stream from wastewater treatment, into value.

The novelty is the integration of hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) -a proven technology at pilot scale- at wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) to turn sewage sludge into liquid biofuel and phosphorus fertilizer. At our lab, we investigate the valorization and biological treatment of the HTL process water and investigate potential negative impacts on the biological treatment processes and on the final effluent quality.

This project is conducted in collaboration with the group of Hydrothermal Processing, the group of Sustainable Process Systems Engineering and the the HTL Pilot Plant.

Involved students: Camille van den Langenberg, internship

Profiling photocatalysis and toxicity of short-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are very persistent molecules that are not degraded in nature or metabolized in organisms. PFAS may be transported over long distances and have been detected in water and biota in remote areas such as the Arctic. As compared with long-chain PFAS (>C6), their analogue short-chain PFAS (C3-C6) are more widely detected, more persistent and mobile in aquatic systems, and thus may pose more risks to human and ecosystem. 

We investigate the potential of advanced oxidation processes to degrade short-chain PFAS. To investigate and mediate the formation of potentially harmful transformation products, we combine techniques from analytical chemistry (LC-MS) and environmental toxicology (bioassays) to detect and identify unknown biologically active contaminants (i.e. effect-directed analysis).

Involved researchers: Junying Wen, PhD student; Pegah Nazari, visiting PhD student

Former projects

  • Microbial co-metabolism of micropollutants (collaboration with DTI)
    Involved students: Nikolaj Salling Thygesen, bachelor student
  • Mitigating microbial H2S production in sewers (Collaboration with BlueKolding)
    Involved students: Anita Kadrija, Master student
  • Sorption of micropollutants on activated sludge
    Involved students: Silas Hauge, Master student