SUSWATER - Sustainable integrated approach to achieve CECs and PTEs removal from contaminated waters. The aquaculture as case study
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Descrizione del progetto
Nowadays, the contamination of water resources coupled with the increased food demand is becoming a key issue. Concerning water, monitoring the quality of the water and its toxicological load is mandatory to guarantee the consumption of pure water to citizens; besides, we need to expand access to pure water by planning actions able to treat contaminated water using environmentally sustainable technologies with the final aim to guarantee a low cost and microbiologically safe water. Concerning food demand, aquaculture is the fastest growing food producing industry globally. It accounts for 47% of fishery products, which is estimated to reach 62 % by 2030.
The project aims to face both sides of the coin by applying an integrated approach. On one side, we will develop new tools useful for eliminating pollutants. Different strategies will be adopted, all commonly sharing a low environmental impact. Fungi will be used to eliminate contaminant of emerging concern (CECs), with particular focus on antibiotics and some lipophilic compounds responsible of unpleasant taste on fish. On the other hand, potentially toxic elements (PTEs) such as dissolved As, Hg, Pb or Cd species will be captured by exploiting the use of iron, adsorbents derived from biomass and inorganic oxides and photocatalysts jointly linked to strengthen their efficiency.
The highest performing materials will then be supported on membranes or columns and will be tested in water for aquaculture or for reuse. In all sites, we will also assess the quality of water by monitoring CECs and PTEs in influent, effluent and post treated waters and by assessing the ecotoxicity and estrogenicity through the combination of different bioassays. The monitoring process will involve not only toxicological assays and chemical analysis using high-resolution techniques; it will also be combined with modelling processes aimed to fully assess the fate of pollutants.