Onderwerp scriptie

Anaerobic degradation of biodiesel


The increased use of renewable resources, such as biodiesel, can change the contaminants in soil and groundwater as a consequence of accidental spills during handling or leakage of biofuel storage tanks. The receiving subsurface environments are usually depleted of oxygen and hence it is important to determine and enhance anaerobic degradation of biodiesel.


The goals of this internship are:
•    To obtain and identify microbial communities involved in the anaerobic degradation of biodiesel under different redox conditions
•    To study their degradation pathway(s)
•    To test remediation of biodiesel contaminated soil and groundwater


In this study, groundwater and soil sampled from different locations in the Netherlands are used as inocula for laboratory experiments. Anaerobic biodegradation of biodiesel with the microbial communities degrading these contaminants will be studied using batch-scale microcosms and continuous cultures in bioreactors at Deltares. In cooperation with Wageningen University degradation intermediates and the underlying microbial community will be studied using (bio)chemical and molecular analyses. Part of the work will be done at Deltares (Utrecht) and part of the work will be done at the Laboratory of Microbiology (WUR).


•    Anaerobic culturing
•    Gas chromatography to measure metabolites
•    Molecular techniques such as qPCR, MiSeq community analysis

Required background:

•    Basic microbiology background
•    Laboratory experience

More information:

The project is designed for major thesis. If you're interested contact:

Marcelle van der Waals (Marcelle.vanderWaals@deltares.nl)

Deltares (Utrecht) in cooperation with Wageningen University