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High-energy micro-environments in biotechnology: year 2006 update

Andreas Tiehm 

Water Technology Center (TZW), Karlsruher Str. 84, Karlsruhe 76139, Germany


Non-traditional techniques creating high-energy micro-environments represent novel options for hazardous waste treatment, pollutant degradation, water purification, conversion of biomass, and disinfection. These techniques can be applied as stand-alone measures or as novel components of multi-disciplinary approaches. In particular in combination with microbiological approaches, there is a high potential to improve economical and technological efficiency. A sufficient understanding of the specific chemical reaction mechanisms including possible side reactions and of the interactions with microorganisms and enzymes is a pre-requisite for optimized integrated approaches. The working group focusses mainly on ultrasound and electrochemistry in environmental biotechnology and bioengineering. The activity of microorganisms and enzymes are studied in the presence of ultrasound and electric fields, and after pre-treatment of dissolved pollutants or solid waste.

In recent years, significant progress has been achieved in the following areas:

  • Disintegration of sewage sludge: new ultrasonic reactors and treatment concepts resulting in a significantly reduced energy consumption
  • Application of ultrasound in combined disinfection processes: demonstration of efficient removal of algae and bacteria; reduced requirements for chlorine
  • Pollutant removal: new insights in ultrasonic reaction mechanisms; demonstration of reduced biotoxicity after ultrasonic pre-treatment
  • Application of electrodes in biochemical synthesis: increased product yield by the integration of electrokinetic processes
  • Electrodes in environmental remediation and waste water treatment: reduction of energy consumption in electrochemical pollutant degradation; feasiblity demonstration of bio-electro-remediation of contaminated sites
The presentation will summarize COST D32 "working group 2" activities and highlight some recent findings.

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Related papers

Presentation: Oral at COST action D32 Mid term evaluation meeting, by Andreas Tiehm
See On-line Journal of COST action D32 Mid term evaluation meeting

Submitted: 2006-05-26 13:14
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44