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BIOREM - Bioremediation of contaminated sites

Research and Education

BIOREM is an academic partnership between the Universities of Vienna, Huaraz (Peru) and Managua (Nicaragua) within the APPEAR-Program, focused on developing applications of bioremediation for contaminated sites establishing academic curricula and supporting local population in remediation of contaminated areas. The project will focus on eco-toxicological risks resulting from mining contamination on-site as well as by transport through water paths in ground water.

The overall goal of BIOREM is to strengthen the capacities of all partners in the field of bioremediation and to benefit mutually of the different genetic pools of ecosystems in distinct climatic zones of the earth.

Our research objective is to use microorganisms and plants to develop cost-efficient and sustainable measures for soil remediation at contaminated sites, especially mining areas. This will be facilitated by research in microbiology, plant uptake, (hydro) geochemistry and environmental technologies. It will provide a speed-up of existing bioremediation techniques and will provide a tool-box to end-users with microbes and plants for remediation actions in different climatic, geological and biological settings that will allow low-cost, sustainable, on-site bioremediation. There will be five international meetings for scientific exchange and field research, with mutual visits, which will be integrated by researchers from other countries and institutions as well.

The educational objective is to get well trained experts for bioremediation, with focus on Nicaragua (UNAN). There will be developed and installed an academic curricula at UNAN. Other activities in this field will be the development and implementation of an open source worldwide database of bioremediation and a web platform for international exchange of knowledge, and the mutual participation of special trainings and courses via streaming technology and mutual visits for special trainings.

Last but not least BIOREM focuses on the strengthening and capacitation of the local population living at contaminated areas to provide means of decontamination and to avoid further contaminations, and to support their environmental efforts. Our project area will be the region of Chontales in Nicaragua, between the small towns of Santo Domingo and La Libertad. There we will work together with mining cooperatives to apply new methods and technologies of biofiltration.

Dissemination of results will be ensured by the final congress and publications; at the same time, the introduction of a concerted, internationalized education of interdisciplinary trained PhD students in the participating countries will ascertain a long-lasting, sustainable education profile with relevance to soil remediation. The involvement of government agencies in Nicaragua and Peru is chosen to provide governments with combined guidelines.

The management of an integrative, interdisciplinary consortium ensures the applicability. Our methodological approach is an integrative process which can be described as participatory learning and action research, where knowledge is developed through critical reflection and experiential learning. Practical knowledge and solutions are developed which are directly useful to practitioners and people in the development process, by mutual participatory research.

Our thanks for funding and support go to:



University of Vienna
Core Facility
Cell Imaging and Ultrastructure Research
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