10.5 Biostabilisation of Drinking Water using Hydrogen

Clean water is necessary for both human and industrial utilization. After production, clean water has often to pass a an extensive piping system before it is used in houses or industry. As a result of biological and physicochemical processes during distribution, water at the consumers' taps can have a lower quality than the treated water released from the plant. Within the piping system, at least 95% of the total microorganisms is found on surfaces, usually in the form of matrix-enclosed microbial communities, called biofilms, growing attached to pipe walls. Thus, killing off the microbes does not solve the problems as the water distribution system is overall a non-sterile technical system. The control of biofilms in piping system can be achieved by producing biological stable drinking water, which means to mantain drinking water quality during its path from the source up to the point of use. This is especially a challenge if the source of the water is impaired water like effluent from wastewater treatment plants.

Research challenge
To improve the biostability of the water, the effect of utilization of electrolyzed hydrogen rich water on the water production and distribution processes will be investigated. The effect of hydrogen on biofilm formation and dynamics as well as the microbial composition will be investigated, next to changes in water quality, especially for human use.

We are looking for an excellent, highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher with an MSc degree in the field of (environmental) microbiology or biotechnology, with affinity for water technology/process engineering. Adequate experimental and theoretical skills in the field are strictly required. Candidates with experience in molecular biology techniques and microbial ecology are preferred. Knowledge of bioinformatics is a plus. Organisational and communication skills are required in order to facilitate interaction with several external parties.

The research project is part of the Wetsus research theme Hydrogen and Water.

Promotor: prof. Henny van der Mei (Biofilms and biomaterials, UMCG University medical center Groningen)
Wetsus supervisor: dr. M. Cristina Gagliano

Wetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands/ UMCG, Groningen, The Netherlands

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