Providing optimal conditions to allow microorganisms to remove environmental contaminants

Society faces increasing challenges as a result of toxic materials we have released into the environment.  In bioremediation, we apply environmental biotechnology to remove or transform contaminants from soils, groundwater, and sediments.  A benefit of bioremediation is that it is accomplished using less energy and with less disturbance of the environment than traditional remediation techniques.  The core of bioremediation involves stimulating microorganisms that naturally remediate these contaminants, and we need to understand what environmental conditions are needed to allow the right microorganisms to prosper. 

The Rittmann lab is on the cutting edge of technology development for bioremediation.  We focus on bioremediation of challenging contaminants that include synthetic organics, inorganic fertilizers, metals, and radionuclides.  Our research activities focus on three areas:  understanding the microbial ecology of bioremediation, developing models to quantify our understanding of these many biogeochemical processes taking place in bioremediation, and developing and implementing novel strategies to implement bioremediation.  The outcomes are fundamental understanding and practical technologies for the bioremediation field.