Our Bold Idea
With funding from the EPA’s Superfund Research Project, Rolf Halden of the Biodesign Instituteat Arizona State University is leading a research program to field test a novel diagnostic tool, thein situ microcosm array (ISMA), with the goal of improving the success rate of bioremediation atsites contaminated with complex chemical mixtures In situ bioremediation holds great promise asa safe and cost-effective strategy for cleanup of contaminated sediments and groundwater.
The U.S. spends around 2 billion dollars a year on remediation at hazardous waste sites,with a large portion of this used for groundwater monitoring. Yet according to Rolf Halden, aresearcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, the information gathered is often oflimited value. Under a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Halden, assistant directorat the Institute’s Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, is pursuing a novel method toconduct these vital tests. His team’s efforts are part of a quest to provide more accurate resultsat lower cost and produce fewer harmful byproducts during the monitoring process.
The in situ microcosm array (ISMA) is a miniaturized laboratory designed to capture, monitor,and enrich microorganisms in their natural habitat. Key advantages of this approach arethat microcosms can be conducted in situ without the release of chemicals and foreignmicroorganisms into the deployment well. After successful laboratory experiments, the ISMAtechnology is now being tested at a Department of Energy Superfund field test site, an importantpart of technology validation. Halden’s technology has been patented and additional patentapplications are pending in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Rolf Halden, PhD
Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology