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TSU scientists' project on biological wastewater treatment was supported by the Russian Science Foundation

March 30, 2021

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The Russian Science Foundation supported the project of TSU scientists “Influence of hazardous micro-pollutants on algal-bacterial communities and their effectiveness in biological wastewater treatment”. The application participated in the competition “Conducting Research Based on Existing World-Class Scientific Infrastructure” of the Presidential Program of Research Projects by Leading Scientists. The research will be conducted at the laboratory complex of the TSU Institute of Natural Sciences and the Research Institute of Ecology and Biotechnology of Derzhavin University, as well as at the Center of Excellence in Genomic and Postgenomic Technologies of Lomonosov Moscow State University under the supervision of Professor, Dr. Alexey Solovchenko. As part of the project, the resources of the National Depositary Bank of Living Systems are expected to be used.

Hazardous micropollutants (HMP) are antibiotics, pharmaceutical substances, nanoparticles, which get into municipal and industrial wastewater in low concentrations, while possessing high biotoxicity. Consumption of preparations containing WMD is constantly increasing. Because of this, their discharge into the environment is increasing. Classical biological treatment technologies are ineffective. Today, the effects of BMPs are well studied only for a limited range of compounds and only under laboratory conditions.

As one of the most promising solutions, MSU and TSU scientists propose to use monocultures and consortia of oxygenated phototrophic microorganisms of cyanobacteria and microalgae.

The goal of the project is to study the effect of OMPs on the structure and functional status of communities containing cyanobacteria and microalgae. Supported by the Russian Science Foundation, the project is planned for implementation by 2024. Scientists will for the first time study the dynamics of microbial community structure under the influence of WMF concentrations comparable with their actual levels in wastewater. The research will be conducted using advanced metabarcoding and functional metagenomics techniques, miningpolnogenomic data, and classical fine chemical analytical, microbiology, and biotechnology techniques.

The project will enable a more accurate assessment of the negative effects of WMD on the biological wastewater treatment system, undesirable antibiotic resistance and cyanotoxin production. Scientists will be able to better understand the short-term and long-term effects of WMF presence on the stability of the microbiome of natural and artificial communities. An important anticipated outcome will be the scientific and theoretical basis for the use of microalgae and microalgae-based communities to eliminate micro-pollutants.

The results of the study can form the basis for the creation of adaptive technologies for biological wastewater treatment.