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Projektek - Molekuláris Ökológia Tanszék

Utolsó frissítés: 2022 június 07.

Ongoing national projects

OTKA-FK-134439: Microbial biodegradation of aromatic hydrocarbons in subsurface environments: elucidating the genetic background of microaerobic degradation by stable isotope and „omics” approaches
The monoaromatic hydrocarbons like the carcinogenic benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX compounds) are frequent groundwater contaminants in Hungary. Several microbes can use these compounds as their sole source of carbon and energy, but mainly under aerobic conditions. Therefore, in subsurface ecosystems, the contamination quickly decreases the availability of oxygen. In shallow, hydrodynamically active groundwater, this leads to the formation of microaerobic conditions (at least periodically), while in deeper layers strictly anaerobic conditions evolve due to the contamination. Under these conditions, benzene and xylene can be persistent contaminants as can be observed in the case of Hungarian contaminated sites. It is known that microbial communities of oxygen-limited subsurface ecosystems with a persistent BTEX contamination are usually dominated by Betaproteobacteriales. Moreover, in layers where low amounts of oxygen is present, catechol 2,3-dioxygenase (C23O) genes encoding subfamily I.2.C-type extradiol dioxygenases can be found in large diversity. These enzymes are believed to function under microaerobic conditions. Our previous studies shed light on the diversity of subfamily I.2.C-type C23Os, while recent results of DNA and RNA-based stable isotope probing studies have revealed microbes which are capable of degrading toluene under microaerobic conditions. However, microaerobic degradation of benzene and xylenes is still in question. The aim of the present research proposal is to uncover the diversity of microbes capable of degrading benzene or xylenes under microaerobic conditions and to reveal the genetic background of microaerobic BTEX-degradation by using stable isotope probing and omics-based approaches.
2020-1.1.2-PIACI-KFI-2020-00020: Development of a combined rhizosphere diagnostics and plant-specific root-colonizing microbial seed coating to maximize drought stress tolerance
In recent decades, the number and intensity of dry periods has increased dramatically in Europe. For the last thirty years, the damage of drought in the EU has been estimated to be 100 billion euros. The majority (around 60%) of this damage has been in the agricultural sector. In terms of drought, the regions of Central and Eastern Europe are unfortunately very vulnerable.

2018-2.1.16-TÉT-IL- 2018-00002: The reduction of pharmaceutical contaminants’ concentration from polluted water ecosystems by using innovative biotechnological methods
Environmental hazardous substances originating from anthropogenic activities cause eco-toxicological harm on the environment and public health. Emerging organic water contaminants (EOCs), including pharmaceuticals, are the most frequently reported pollutant group after pesticides. Wastewater effluents are the main sources of contamination with surface and groundwaters containing the greatest load of contaminants. The conventional wastewater treatment plants are generally insufficient, and inconsistently able to eliminate these compounds.  Therefore, EOCs may accumulate and contaminate terrestrial and aquatic environments. Pharmaceuticals have already been reported being present in drinking waters from Germany, UK, Italy, Canada and the USA. These chemicals, under certain conditions, may pose a threat to freshwater niches for decades due to their relatively long environmental residence. Therefore, more and more emphasis is put on drinking water regulation of EOCs, environmental quality standards and/or groundwater threshold values. A better understanding of the spatial and temporal variation also remains a priority. Moreover, there is not enough knowledge about the possible long-term effects of pharmaceuticals on nature and public health. Understanding the microbiological biotransformation of EOCs is also essential to precisely determine their ultimate environmental fate, to conduct accurate risk assessments, and to accelerate their removal. The development of environmentally friendly solutions, sustainable and innovative alternative methods for the elimination of these emerging pollutants from the environment is vital. The goal of this research is to uncover the microbiological background of pharmaceutical biodegradation, the identification of degrading organisms, as well as the development of a biotechnological approach for the elimination, or reduction, of pharmaceutical concentrations from wastewater effluents. 

Ongoing international projects

H2020 iFishIENCi: Intelligent Fish feeding through Integration of Enabling technologies and Circular principles
iFishIENCi is an EU Horizon 2020 project bringing together 16 partners in a trans-disciplinary effort aimed at making genuine improvements to aquaculture management and practices. The overall goal of the iFishIENCi project is to provide new intelligent feeding technologies to support ambitious, but sustainable growth for the European aquaculture industry. The project uses advanced digital information technology to monitor all aspects of fish and their environment. This cutting-edge research is being combined with a holistic understanding of how these new technologies will interact with society and stakeholders in terms of economy, politics, social welfare, animal welfare and ethics. Today, the majority of aquaculture production is done in land-based flow-through or pond systems, marine cages or recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) with a range of production costs and environmental impacts. The increasing demand for fish has resulted in more costly, intensive fish aquaculture solutions with increasing sizes in rearing environments on land (RAS), coastal (semi-closed containment systems) and off-shore systems. This has led to new challenges in maintaining fish health and welfare in these systems. Reducing stress on the fish will reduce its deleterious effects on fish behaviour, development, feeding, growth, reproduction, and immune function.