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Field validation of technologies for anaerobic benzene and alkylbenzene bioremediation

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Elizabeth Edwards (University of Toronto) & Sandra Dworatzek (SiREM Labs)
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Canada - Genomic Applications Partnership Program - GAPP
PROJECT START DATE April 1, 2019
PROJECT END DATE June 30, 2024
ALBERTA’S ROLE Co-Lead

The federal contaminated sites inventory lists over 1000 soil and groundwater sites contaminated with BTEX compounds (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes). BTEX present significant risks to human and environmental health, especially benzene, a known carcinogen. Benzene is also particularly challenging to remediate due to its slow biodegradation in the absence of oxygen. Genomics-based modeling of the microbial populations associated with BTEX biodegradation will allow for the development of additional bioremediation culture formulations and associated genomics monitoring tools, which can function in complex site-specific geochemical conditions present at many contaminated sites. As this new remediation approach is successfully demonstrated, users will recognize cost savings using a sustainable and low carbon footprint technology. Such lower cost yet effective remediation strategies will benefit society at large by promoting cleanup of impacted soils and groundwater that would otherwise have been left untreated.

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