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CEE Seminar: Bioprospecting the Plant Microbiome for Novel Degraders of 1,4 Dioxane

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Friday, February 22, 2019
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Jerald Schnoor, Professor, University of Iowa
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CEE Spring 2019 Seminar Series

We need improved ability to treat mixed contaminants of concern (COCs) in groundwater contaminated by perfluorinated chemicals, perchlorate, chlorinated organic solvents, and 1,4-dioxane. In this research, we focus on large-scale groundwater plumes which exist at military and industrial sites containing 1,4-dioxane and chlorinated solvent co-contaminants. Generally, they exceed designated risk-based standards for groundwater. These chemicals are toxic, persistent, and difficult to biodegrade or treat - they pose risk to drinking water supplies.
New technologies are needed to remediate groundwater plumes in-situ to very low risk-based levels because Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) cannot be assured on a reasonable time-scale.

Here, we explore a promising and under-employed niche, the plant microbiome, for microbes that are faster to degrade 1,4-dioxane down to trace levels while also targeting TCE, DCE, TCA, and DCA. We report on the isolation, culturing, laboratory test performance, and potential scale-up for bioaugmentation for remediation at problem sites.