Application of Lemna minor in site remediation strategies


Vangronsveld Jaco, (Universiteit Hasselt),

SCK•CEN Mentor

Vanhoudt Nathalie,, +32 (0)14 33 21 12

Expert group

Biosphere Impact Studies

SCK•CEN Co-mentor

Vives i Batlle Jordi , , +32 (0)14 33 88 05

Short project description

This PhD project deals with phytoremediation: the development of an eco-friendly and cost-effective technology to remove radioactive pollution from waste water using the aquatic plant Lemna minor (duckweed). The successful student will be involved in a detailed experimental study to establish the optimum conditions under which Lemna minor can be used to remove radio-pollutants from waste water by investigating removal efficiency, metal uptake and bio-concentration factors under a variety of chemical and environmental influences. Two scenarios are envisaged: uranium-mining drainage water/storage ponds polluted with naturally occurring radionuclides and heavy metals, and effluent streams from nuclear plant related accidents containing man-made radionuclides. The student will develop a mathematical model calibrated with data from the experiments. This model will then be applied to assess options for the treatment of real radioactively polluted waters that fall within the initially defined scenarios. In addition, by generating new understanding on the plant uptake of radionuclides in aquatic environments, the project is expected to yield important benefits for impact assessments of humans and the environment, whilst introducing new environmentally friendly depollution techniques for remediation projects.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

Master of industrial sciences , Master of sciences , Master of sciences in engineering

The candidate needs to have a background in

Bio-engineering , Biology

Estimated duration

4 years
Before applying, please consult the guidelines for application for PhD.