Study Expands Understanding of Bacterial Communities for Global Next-generation Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Systems

May 13, 2019

Wastewater treatment and reuse are critical to global health and sustaining a world population predicted to reach 10 billion by 2050. Now, researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University join University of Oklahoma colleagues, who led an interdisciplinary global study to explore wastewater microbial communities. The research expands the understanding of activated sludge microbiomes for next-generation wastewater treatment and reuse systems enhanced by microbiome...

Rittmann sounds a call to action for a more sustainable phosphorus supply

April 1, 2019

Bruce Rittmann, director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at Arizona State University, is slated to be the keynote speaker at the Phosphorus Forum 2019 in Washington, D.C., on April 5. Rittmann will discuss “Minimizing P loss and Maximizing Value.” The annual conference attracts scientists and NGOs focused on water quality issues, nutrient recovery technology companies, fertilizer manufacturers, food producers, water utilities, farm consultants, government...

DOE awards $4.5M to ASU researchers to discover new ways to harness carbon dioxide for reducing biofuel costs

November 5, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced 36 projects that together have been awarded $80 million to support early-stage bioenergy research and development. Two ASU research teams are among the grantees, with the grants to ASU totaling about $4.5 million. The two teams are headed by Wim Vermaas, Foundation Professor in the School of Life Sciences and a member of the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis, and Bruce Rittmann, director of Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental...

Biotech journal features researchers’ work two months in a row

September 12, 2018

One of researchers’ main prerogatives is to receive recognition for their work in high-caliber journals – to be featured on the cover of a journal is an accolade that is highly sought after, but rarely received. To be featured on not just one cover but two covers is rare. Biodesign researchers managed to pull it off. Back-to-back discoveries by Biodesign research scientist Chen Zhou and his team graced the covers of the July and August issues of "Biotechnology and Bioengineering," a...

Climate change, environmental issues rarely covered in introductory science textbooks

April 30, 2018

As an ASU graduate student, Rachel Yoho wanted to push the boundaries of renewable energy research. What she didn’t fully anticipate is that it would also lead her to questioning how climate change is taught in today’s universities. In the Biodesign Center for Environmental Biotechnology, led by director and ASU Regents’ Professor (and recent Stockholm Water Prize winner) Bruce Rittmann, she found a welcome home to make her research thrive. There, she focused on microbes that were...

The Big Picture of Energy Options

July 19, 2017

Bruce Rittmann, Ph.D., Director, Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology will give an overview of the energy needs and solutions for our planet. This is a Spirit of the Senses salon open to group members and Biodesign employees and their guests. If you have questions, email

Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance hosts first conference

May 19, 2017

As agribusiness grows to feed an increasing global population, so do concerns about the sustainability of current agricultural practices. The use of phosphorus in big agriculture is one such practice which has come under the microscope of sustainability experts. The element is a common ingredient in plant fertilizer and animal feed and is an essential building block for life, however, an overabundance of phosphorus can leak toxins into the environment. Researchers have long been aware...

ASU’s carbon capture and delivery technology garners algae industry award

May 11, 2017

What if rather than using fossil fuels that add carbon dioxide, we could create renewable biofuels that recycle carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? That’s the concept behind a new invention from Arizona State University researchers that recently garnered industry recognition as the “Gold Medal” Award Winner in the Laboratory Equipment Category from the Algae Industry Magazine’s 2017 International Readers’ Poll. Klaus Lackner, teamed with Arizona State University Biodesign...

Rittmann receives Fulton Schools' Jankowski Legacy Award

March 9, 2017

Regents’ Professor Bruce Rittmann recently received the Jankowski Legacy Award for 2017, which is one of the highest distinctions a Fulton Schools faculty member can achieve. The award recognizes engineering faculty with measured contributions to education, research and public service. Photographer: Jessica Hochreiter/ASU After 12 years of advancing research and education at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Regents’ Professor Bruce Rittmann has been named the 2017 recipient...

Inventions that clean up water earn Rittmann NAI Fellowship

January 25, 2017

What makes a successful invention? There are many criteria, but often our most widely used inventions solve multiple problems. WD-40 and duct tape both boast hundreds of uses or more, and likely we all have both at hand. Another example involves making natural processes do a variety of work for us, such as using bacteria to clean up contaminants in wastewater. But Arizona State University Regents’ Professor Bruce Rittmann took his discovery of this process a step further and figured out...