ESR 5 – Project description

Microbial technologies for converting P-loaded Fe(III)oxides

ESR 5: Lordina Eshun

Supervisor: Prof. Jonathan Lloyd (University of Manchester, UK) / Co-supervisor: Prof. Antonio Delgado (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain), Dr. Andreas Voegelin (EAWAG, Switzerland)

Project description: The project of ESR 5 will focus on the development of novel biotechnological routes for the production phosphate-containing agricultural fertilizers. In this project the ESR will work on microbial-based processes for the bioconversion of P-loaded Fe(III) oxides to the readily bioavailable Fe(II) phosphate vivianite. To achieve this, the research programme will optimise both phosphate sorption to Fe(III) oxides, and the subsequent bioconversion to bio-vivianite using appropriate P fertilisers, microbial inocula and bioreactor systems; where possible waste or recycled starting materials will be used. Additional context will be obtained through collaboration with industrial partners where the effectiveness of bio-vivianite as a P fertiliser will be assessed. Approaches employed will include microbiological techniques (including genomic tools where appropriate), biomineral synthesis and characterisation, biogeochemical analyses and synchrotron spectroscopy. The project will be performed in close collaboration with UK and international partners and will involve secondments at academic and commercial partners in the P-TRAP project consortium, including laboratories in Switzerland and Spain.

Secondments planned:

FERTIBERIA: Testing and applying the effectiveness and functioning of P fertilisers from recycled P containing materials (3 months)

EAWAG: Using synchrotron based techniques to characterize Fe phases (2 months)

US: Application of Fe containing minerals to prevent Fe chlorosis (1 month)