BIOTOOL Biological procedures for diagnosing the status and predicting evolution of polluted environments

Project Details


Role of DTU:
The normal way to find subsurface pollution is to bore holes. We will investigate whether vegetation can be used to find pollutants residing in the soil. We will use physiological parameters, such as growth, photos from airplanes, leaf fluorescense, and chemical parameters, such as analysis of leafs and wood. We will develop and apply models to predict the accumulation of chemicals in trees and other plants.

The goal is to find indicator chemicals and/or indicator plants for subsurface pollution.

Test sites are the Danish phytorem sites, e.g., Vassingerød, Axelved, Søllerød.

Other work packages of the project will try to develop methods to determine the enzymatic reactions in the pollution plume - ideally by a chip determining the active RNA.

Or, more detailed:
The objective of BIOTOOL is the assessment, evaluation and prediction of natural attenuation processes to implement natural attenuation as the accepted key groundwater and soil remediation strategy in Europe. This will require benchmarked monitoring tools for diagnosing biological status and predicting evolution of contaminated soil and groundwater which have to be rooted in biological processes. The generation and validation of such novel instruments will be materialized through the application of a suite of state-of-the-art genomic, proteomic and analytical technologies to environmental samples and sites themselves. We will exploit the translocation of indicator chemicals from below ground into above-ground vegetation as a cheap and rapid monitoring tool for subsurface contamination. Diagnosis of the biological status and evolution models for polluted environments will be achieved through [i] the design and utilization of DNA and specifically DNA-array technology for examining the catabolic potential of any given particulate sample and [ii] the identification of protein biomarkers as descriptors of soil and groundwater conditions and biological attenuation. The progress in microbial community functional genomics and proteomics will be employed to gain a mechanistic understanding of microbial responses to chemical insults, plant/microbe interactions and microbial community adaptations that determine microbial-driven soil and groundwater attenuation processes. Such mechanistic understanding will add a considerable predictive power to the genomic and proteomic approaches. Determining the links between environmental factors and expression of degradation abilities will be crucial for strategies aiming at an optimal expression of the catalytic power of the indigenous microbial community. The robustness of diagnostic instruments for future normative applications will be validated in microcosms and used for assessment of contaminated sites under study.
Effective start/end date01/09/200431/08/2007


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