PhD highlights: Bárbara Almeida

Title: Micropollutant bioremoval in wastewater treatment systems: from microbial population structure to function.

Abstract: The microbial populations involved in the degradation of micropollutants in wastewater systems are vastly unknown. This thesis investigated the performance, metabolism and identity of microorganisms responsible for the biodegradation of target pharmaceuticals and heavy metals.

The biodegradation of ibuprofen and ketoprofen by activated sludge and by a pure culture were described using mathematical models (Almeida et al., 2013) Several ibuprofen and ketoprofen degrading microorganisms were isolated, one of which showed unique phenotypic and molecular characteristics, and was classified as a new species (Patulibacter medicamentivorans) (Almeida et al., in press). The metabolic aspects of ibuprofen degradation by Patulibacter medicamentivorans were investigated through quantitative proteomics  (Almeida et al., 2012). An approach based on genetic and functional information was further used to investigate mercury-reducing cultures enriched with different carbon sources  (Almeida et al., 2011).

This thesis represents an important step towards a better understanding of the microbial communities involved in the degradation of relevant micropollutants.


Acknowledgments: Thesis supervisors Dr Teresa Crespo and Dr Gilda Carvalho, and the thesis committee Professor Olga Nunes and Professor João Paulo Noronha are acknowledged, and FCT for funding through grant SFRH/BD/47748/2008 and project PTDC/AMB/65702/2006.


Almeida B, Oehmen A, Marques R, Brito D, Carvalho G, Barreto Crespo MT. (2013), Modelling the biodegradation of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by activated sludge and a pure culture. Biores. Technol. 133, 31-37.

Almeida B, Vaz-Moreira I, Schumann P, Nunes OC, Carvalho G, Barreto Crespo, MT. (in press), Patulibacter medicamentivorans sp. nov., isolated from activated sludge of a wastewater treatment plant. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol.

Almeida B, Kjeldal H, Lolas I, Knudsen AD, Carvalho G, Nielsen KL, Barreto Crespo MT, Stensballe A, Nielsen JL. (2012), Quantitative proteomic analysis of ibuprofen-degrading Patulibacter sp.  strain I11. Biodegradation. doi:10.1007/s10532-012-9610-5.

Carvalho G, Almeida B, Fradinho J, Oehmen A, Reis MA, Crespo MT. (2011), Microbial characterisation of mercury reducing mixed cultures enriched with different carbon sources. Microbes Environ. 26, 293-300.

PhD Degree: Biology, specialization Microbial Biology; Year of conlusion: 2012

Institution(s): Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Supervision: Teresa Crespo and Gilda Carvalho

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