The course provides a general introduction to the diverse roles of microorganisms in bioremediation and solution of different environmental pollution problems. It aims to get students familiar with microbial metabolism and to explain the principal role that microbes play in destroying or demobilizing contaminants. Students will learn the current uses of bioremediation technologies and will be able to underatand a technical report as far as biological aspects are concerned.
Microbiology and microbial metabolism
Course contents summary
Bioremediation is an increasingly popular technology for remediation of contaminated sites. The purpose of this course is to define bioremediation and to describe the role of microrganisms in environment remediation.
In the first part of the course students will learn the different metabolic capabilities of microorganisms and how these can be applied to remediation of contaminated environments. The use of database specialized in catabolic pathways will be explained. The main bioremediation technologies will then be illustrated. In the last part, practical situations, in which the student will see the application of aquired competences, will be discussed
Bacterial degradation of organic aliphatic and aromatic, alogenated and non alogenated most common environmental pollutants. Microorganisms and heavy metal pollution. In situ and ex situ bioremediation technologies. Mycoremediation. Removal of Nitrogen and Phosphorous from waste waters: Anaerobic Ammonium Oxidation (Anammox). applications, ecophysiology and diversity of anammox bacteria. EBPR (Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal) and diversity of poly-P bacteria.
Barbieri, Bestetti, Galli e Zannoni, "Microbiologia ambientale ed elementi di ecologia microbica"(2008) Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
Martin Alexander “Biodegradation and Bioremediation” (1999) 2nd Ed. Academic Press
Scientific articles up to date concerning bioremediation applications
Lessons and open discussions in class
Assessment methods and criteria
The final exam will be oral and will verify that the student has learned which microorganisms are able to degrade xenobiotic compounds and detoxify heavy metals and has learned what are the main microbial catabolic pathways. He must also be able to search for and organize the information available in specialized databases, and know the basics of the techniques of bioremediation.
To each student will be assigned a scientific paper that deals with a case study so that he can demonstrate to have understood and to be able to discuss a real case.