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The elimination of endocrine disruptors to improve food security

17th national competition for scientific and technical research

Food security and biotechnology

Senior Researcher : José Luis García López

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Research Centre or Institution : Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB) (CSIC)


The shortage of water and problems connected with its quality are priority concerns when designing strategies to guarantee food security. Due to this, the treatment of waste water and re-use of the same are efficient ways of contributing to food security. However, the presence of micro-pollutants in regenerated water is a critical problem for its use, and increasing attention is being paid to this. These micro-pollutants include endocrine disruptors (EDC), which cause serious health problems in humans and animals. Although the development of more effective biological waste water treatment systems is of key importance for reducing EDC contamination, there is still very little knowledge about the organisms which can break down EDC. It is therefore necessary to study microbial routes for breaking down EDC in greater depth, with the aim of improving their efficacy in biotechnological processes for treating waste water.

The main aim of this project is to provide new biotechnological tools to eliminate EDC from waste water, so that the project therefore has two main objectives: 1) Characterisation of a route for the aerobic degradation of steroid oestrogens. Applications. 2) Characterisation of the route for the bacterial degradation of aromatic EDC. Applications. The subsequent development of microorganisms with higher potential for the elimination of EDC is based on our experience with steroid and aromatic compound degradation routes which have been studied in our laboratories for many years.

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