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Improving Bioremediation of Polluted Soils Through Environmental Genomics

2010 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition – Forestry and Environment
Genome Centre(s):
Génome Québec
Project Leader(s):
B. Franz Lang (Université de Montréal), Mohamed Hijri (Université de Montréal)
Fiscal Year Project Launched: 
Project Description: 

Reclaiming polluted land sites. Mining activities, oil and gas extraction, agriculture and industrial processes can all contaminate soil, creating a significant world­wide problem. Efforts are underway to reduce the production of industrial and agricultural pollutants at their source, but this does not address the enormous legacy sites containing trace metals that can remain in the soil for millennia.

Genome Canada is funding research into phytoremediation ­ a promising new biotechnology that uses plants to clean up pollutants in the soil. Part of the research involves sequencing selected microbes that are most effective in soil detoxification, which will place important new data in the public domain.

Remediation services represent a market of over $30 billion in Canada and this sector has grown every year for the past decade. This project will, therefore, yield significant economic benefits for Canada, rehabilitate soil and create a healthier environment. The project will also develop a step­by­step methodology for sustainability assessments for site rehabilitation, including a toolkit for boards of directors and legal guidelines for governments and corporations.