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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
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Jerald Schnoor, Professor, University of Iowa
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.