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Environmental Microbiology and Circular Resource Flow

Section research areas

The section has expertise in a number of specific areas within microbial ecology: Environmental risk analysis of microorganisms and sustainable ecobiotechnology, including GMO; human exposure to microorganisms in the environment; environmental assessment using microbiological indicators; microbial degradation of pollutants and gene exchange among microorganisms. The research activities involve a number of methods for measuring different parameters at the level of individual species - for example, the presence of the species in the atmosphere, its fate in the environment and foods, and the interactions between species both within and between trophic levels. Similarly, different forms of diversity (genetic and functional) are measured in entire microbial populations and used as indicators for soil quality parameters.

The current specific areas of expertise form the platform for fulfilling the future ambitions of the section designed to meet society’s future requirements for research and for knowledge. The following research areas are in focus:

Aeromicrobiology

Incidence, effect and dispersion of microorganisms in the atmosphere.

Pathogenic microorganisms in the environment

This research is at the intersection between microbial ecology and medical microbiology. It examines the role of environment as a habitat for pathogenic microorganisms, and for their spread and exposure to humans.

The role of microorganisms in sustainable recycling

Research into the microbial aspects of intelligent recycling of the elements N, P and SCin waste streams.

Sustainable utilisation of resources  

The section is also involved in analyses of local and regional strategies for the sustainable use of resources. This includes development of methods for nutrient recycling, aiming to mitigate environmental pollution and emission of greenhouse gases through a more appropriate and efficient use of resources. Central methods in this work comprise extended ecoindustrial life cycle assessments of nutrient flows, as well as risk analyses of derived effects on environment and health.