The National Environmental Research Institute (NERI), Department of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology, Aarhus University in Roskilde, hereby calls for applications for a fully financed PhD stipend in collaboration with Aarhus Graduate School of Agriculture, Food and Environment, SAFE. The position is expected to be filled by 1 January 2011 or as soon as possible thereafter, subject to negotiation.
Department of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology (MIMI)
The Department of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology currently comprises the director of the department, 1 professor, 8 scientific staff, 11 technicians, 3 administrative staff, as well as visiting scientists and several PhD and undergraduate students.
Description of the project
Pesticide contamination of soils and groundwater poses a serious threat to human and environmental health. Robust contaminant removal relies mainly on microorganisms which are able to degrade the pesticide either solely or synergistically in microbial consortia. The main objective of the present PhD project is to study microbial remediation of pesticide-contaminated soils using a bio-augmentation approach.
The PhD project aims at obtaining optimal pesticide degradation in situ by inoculating contaminated soil with effective degraders of specific pesticides. Such degraders are already isolated in collaborative projects and include both bacteria and fungi with degradation potentials to be studied individually as well as in synergistic consortia.
Various approaches for introducing the microorganisms in contaminated soils involve direct inoculation, proliferation via plant roots as well as using various forms of protective carrier materials. Initial pilot experiments are performed in the laboratory with soil cores subsequently leading to pilot-scale experiments in lysimeters and full-scale experiments in the field. This will involve soils from the national Danish pesticide warning program (VAP) and known contaminated sites with historic point-source contamination.
The research will focus on selected pesticides that are being encountered in groundwater samples of the pesticide warning program or pose a problem in European water resources. These include benzonitriles (dichlobenil/BAM, bromoxynil), triazines, phenoxyalcanoic acids and phenylurea herbicides. In addition, factors affecting mobility/bio-availability of glyphosate and AMPA will be elucidated.
Pesticide degradation patterns and kinetics will be measured using front-line chromatographic and immunological analytical approaches, so that removal of pristine pesticide compound and their degradation products can be identified and quantified. Analytical work is performed in close collaboration with partners in the overall project consortium in which the present PhD study is embedded and which provide additional information about biological factors (like protozoan grazing) affecting the fate of the introduced degraders. Optimally, the project will provide new knowledge that will facilitate a more effective removal of pesticide contaminants in soil and associated aquifers thus securing clean and safe drinking water in the future.
Qualifications and specific competences
Applicants to the PhD positions must have a relevant Master’s degree (or graduate in the very near future – documentation for final thesis and date of examination must be enclosed in the application) or equivalent in natural sciences, e.g. microbiology, soil chemistry, environmental chemistry or a related field. The ideal candidate has experience in both microbiology and chemical analysis.
Place of Employment and Place of Work
Employment and main place of work will be at NERI/AU (Roskilde/Sealand). The work will proceed in close collaboration with GEUS (Copenhagen/Sealand) and DJF/AU (Foulum/Jutland). The PhD student can expect extended stays at DJF/AU for doing parts of the research work.
Hours per week: 37 hours
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Project coordinator: Ulrich Bay Gosewinkel, National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, phone +45 4630 1387 or internal supervisor Anders Johansen, National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, phone +45 4630 1316
http://www.miresowa.dk/ and www.workindenmark.dk.
Your application must include CV, documentation of academic degrees, references and other relevant material you may wish to submit in support to your application. To apply please follow the link below.