New publication in Environmental Science & Technology: Identifying Functional Groups that Determine Rates of Micropollutant Biotransformations Performed by Wastewater Microbial Communities


Hundreds of different organic chemicals enter wastewater streams in response to human activities. Microorganisms residing in wastewater treatment plants have been shown to transform and degrade some of these chemicals, but predicting which chemicals are susceptible to such transformations and at what rate is difficult. To address this challenge, EDGE-researcher Michael Zumstein and colleagues from Cornell University (USA) experimentally investigated biotransformation kinetics and pathways of a broad set of organic chemicals by microbial communities from several wastewater treatment plants and applied machine learning algorithms to identify links between the structure of a chemical and the rate of its biotransformation. The results of this study, which provide novel insights into biotransformation reactions and allow more accurate predictions thereof, were recently published in Environmental Science and Technology.