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We are about to start a new experiment on rhizoremediation of contaminated soil. Brassica juncea plants will be grown, under controlled Phytotron conditions, in soil simultaneously contaminated with metals and organic compounds.  Different amendments (chicken manure, horse manure, etc.) will be used to both facilitate plant growth and stimulate the rate of contaminant degradation by rhizosphere microbial communities (i.e., bioremediation through biostimulation). In addition, bacterial strains isolated from the contaminated soil will be initially selected according to their (i) contaminant degradation potential and (ii) plant growth-promoting traits. A consortium of these strains will then be used for bioaugmentation purposes. Finally, apart from the reduction in the concentrations of the target contaminants, we will study the recovery of soil health, using a variety of physicochemical and microbial indicators of soil functioning, as a result of the application of the abovementioned rhizoremediation strategies.

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Drought in PHYTOSUDOE!

Last Monday (October 16th, 2017), we visited our phytomanagement experimental field site located in Júndiz (Álava, Spain) to collect insects from the pitfall traps (pitfall traps are devices, commonly used as a passive sampling technique to assess insect diversity, to trap insects that are active on the ground surface) installed there around the contaminated plots (S5b site). During this visit, we observed the considerable adverse effects of this summer´s drought on the growth of poplar trees planted there, together with alfalfa plants, as part of the phytomanagement strategies applied in this contaminated site. The more frequent and intense droughts and heat waves experienced in the last years in our region point out to the great importance of adapting phytomanagement guidelines to the current scenario of climate change.

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Project about the rational use of antibiotics in livestock

Several groups of Neiker are working on the research project URAGAN, which aims a rational use of antibiotics in livestock. In the case of the Soil Microbial Ecology Group, we are concerned about the potential dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes and mobile genetic elements as a result of the application of animal manure in agricultural soil. In the short term, we plan to establish a pot experiment where we will apply several manures and grow different crops. We will use high-throughput qPCR to simultaneously analyze a great variety of antibiotic resistance genes both in soil and plants. To this purpose, this week we have collected manure and slurry in two dairy farms under organic and intensive management.

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Methodology for assessing the effectiveness of Nature Based Solutions

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA) through the Biodiversity Foundation has granted aid for the NATURADAPT project, where we will continue working on the development of a methodology to assess the effectiveness of Nature Based Solutions for urban adaptation to climate change at different scales. The project will be carried out in collaboration with Tecnalia Research and Innovation, that will model variables related to reduction of temperature and uptake of runoff. Meantime, Neiker will be in charge of measuring carbon capture, as well as plant and soil biodiversity.


With the support of



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Nanobiopile of 7m3 to remediate a heavily polluted soil

Iragaz Watin S.A. is working on the development of a methodology that combines nanoremediation and bioremediation, with the technical support of the University of the Basque Country, Gaiker technological center and Neiker. Yesterday we established a pilot nanobiopile of 7 m3 to remediate a soil polluted with hydrocarbons, PAHs and heavy metals. It is very exciting for us to work on such a big scale!


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