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SCELSE Seminar Series: Transforming wastewater treatment plants into biopolymer production plants through an understanding of their EPS

Date:    Thursday, 21 Sep 2023
Time:   10am – 11am
Venue: NTU School of Biological Sciences Classroom 3 (SBS-01N-23)

Activated sludge wastewater treatment is the largest biotechnology by volume in the world, and sludge the biosolid waste produced in the greatest amounts by society. Regardless of location, activated sludge assembles predominantly into floccular structures through processes mediated by extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) (i.e. flocculation). The identities of these EPS are not known, nor the extent to how they differ according to process configuration. Nonetheless, they represent a potentially alternative and abundant source of biopolymers that could help us meet increasing demands for renewable (bio)polymers. Using extraction and characterization methods developed largely at SCELSE, Thomas will describe opportunities and progress by his group at Aarhus University in developing EPS valorization technologies, involving the use of EPS as substrate for biomaterial formulation e.g. bioplastic films, and recovering valuable and novel oligo and polysaccharides. Furthermore, he will describe the first important steps towards establishing a global profile of activated sludge exopolysaccharides.


Aarhus University, Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering