blue sea abstract background

Cleaning up contaminated water

September 21, 2015

Challenge
Water contaminants can lead to debilitating and deadly diseases such as dengue fever, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. More than a billion people worldwide have no access to a decent water supply. As a result, unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene are the leading causes of death in the developing world. In fact, the majority of illnesses in developing countries are caused by poor water and sanitation conditions.

Genomics solution
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. KB-1 can be injected into an area contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE) next to a river. Within 6 months, 98% of the estimated TCE mass was removed. It is the most widely used bioaugmentation culture used in the world for dechlorination. These versatile technologies can be adapted to identify a variety of contaminants, and are suitable for the unique conditions of developing countries.

Impact
Cleaning up contaminated water has an impact on human health. The rapid increases in population in developing countries & major urban centers will influence major investments for water and wastewater treatment needs and will drive water recycling and re-use.
KB-1 is currently being marketed and sold by SiREM. It has been translated from lab to marketplace.

KB-1 was discovered by Dr. Elizabeth Edwards (University of Toronto) and is now marketed and sold by SiREM. Dr. Edwards also leads the BEEM project, which aims to accelerate discovery and characterization of microbial consortia (KB-1 and others).

GAPP project description – Scale-up of bioaugmentation cultures and development of delivery strategies and monitoring tools for anaerobic benzene and alkylbenzene bioremediation