Elizabeth Edwards and Radhakrishnan Mahadevan of the University of Toronto are developing computational models using microbial genomes and metagenomes to uncover metabolic interactions in complex anaerobic microbial communities. They will identify and validate metabolic gaps pointing to metabolites exchanged among an anaerobic subsurface mixed microbial community that contains microbes used for bioremediation of toxic chlorinated solvents. This project aims to boost the efficiency of dechlorination in groundwater remediation, and resolve metabolic gaps in genome-scale models at the microbial community level.
In response to a need for a simpler, more cost-effective and environmentally responsible solution for treatment of wastewater, Ontario Genomics, alongside an NSERC Engage Plus award, supported a partnership between Bishop Water Technologies (BWT) and Dr. Christopher Weisener and his colleague Dr.Rao Chaganti of the University of Windsor. They are working together to find a solution for BWT’s product, BioCord, that would be affordable to communities, environmentally responsible, simpler to operate, and compliant with Federal and existing provincial regulations.
As a result of extraction, transportation and refining processes, as well as accidental spills and leaks, BTEX compounds – benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes – frequently pollute groundwater in all industrialized regions of the globe. In Canada and elsewhere, remediation of contaminated sites is difficult and costly. When possible, affected soils are dug up and treated or disposed of offsite. With $1 million awarded through the GAPP program, Dr. Elizabeth Edwards of the University of Toronto is working with SiREM, a Canadian leader in bioremediation, to scale up and commercialize anaerobic bioaugmentation cultures for in situ BTEX remediation.
A 2015 video testimony from Don Bishop of Bishop Water Technologies (BWT) describing how genomics can be a solution to make wastewater plants more effective and cheaper. Specifically, he talks about his organization’s experience using metagenomics to help improve and optimize BWT’s “BioCord” technology for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment.
Water contaminants can lead to deadly diseases such as dengue fever, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. DNA-based technologies can quickly and accurately detect pathogens in a water supply, identifying unsafe water before it can make people sick. KB-1 is a value-recovery tool for contaminated groundwater discovered by Dr. Elizabeth Edwards of the University of Toronto and now marketed and sold by SiREM, which is being adapted to identify a variety of contaminants, applicable across the unique conditions of developing countries.
ENDETEC, a global company focused on innovative sensor solutions for water safety, in collaboration with Drs. Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz of the University of Toronto and R. Stephen Brown of Queen’s University, will develop a DNA biosensor for simple, low-cost, fast, on-site detection of bacteria in water samples. “DNA biosensor technology can potentially be a game-changer for water monitoring, providing truly rapid monitoring and expanding the range of organisms that can be detected,” said Mr. Doug Wilton, VP Operations for ENDETEC.