Lutgarde Raskin & Nancy Love

'Environmental Biotechnology Applied to Water and Wastewater Treatment: Protecting Public Health and the Environment'

Biotechnology can be described as the development and use of engineering methods and systems that take advantage of the beneficial characteristics of naturally occurring microorganisms. Environmental biotechnology aims to apply the principles of biotechnology to address problems of significance to the natural environment and human health. Researchers in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Michigan are applying environmental biotechnology in innovative ways to treat water and wastewater in practical and sustainable ways.

The research groups of Drs. Lutgarde Raskin and Nancy Love have long established histories in the field of environmental biotechnology, and recently merged their laboratories to enhance Michigan’s capability to research and develop solutions for current issues in water and wastewater treatment. Projects include:

  • Using biological processes to remove arsenic, nitrate, perchlorate, uranium, and other contaminants that can pose serious health risks in drinking water.
  • Developing techniques to recover useful resources (such as energy, water and nutrients) from wastewater.
  • Understanding the processes that enable bacteria to biodegrade or otherwise reduce the toxicity of chemicals, including industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and other emerging contaminants.
  • Evaluating the development and progression of antibiotic resistance through drinking water treatment, distribution, and wastewater treatment processes.
  • Understanding microbiological processes that can be used to enhance the sustainability of aquaculture systems.

These and other environmental biotechnology projects are focused on enhancing public health and protecting the natural environment. Several of these projects involve collaborative research with other faculty members at Michigan, including Drs. Kim Hayes (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Steve Skerlos (Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering), Chuanwu Xi (School of Publich Health), and Jim Diana (School of Natural Resources and the Environment).

An experimental setup to test anaerobic membrane bioreactors.
(Photo by Adam Smith)

The Raskin and Love Research Groups

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