Environmental pollution derived from human and industrial activities has become a major problem in the world. Inorganic and organic pollutants present in urban and industrial effluents have to be removed before these effluents reach aquatic ecosystems. Through my career, I have worked in studying the role of microbial diversity in different biological treatment systems. My PhD dealt with the application of complex biofilms to the detoxification of sulfide, a toxic and corrosive compound, which represent on the major pollutants generated by industrial processes. During that period, I also worked on hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms.
Besides industrial effluents, perhaps the most extended problem derived from massive urbanization is that of wastewater containing high loads of organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. Due to the water shortage linked to global warming that many world areas are experiencing today, the use of reclaimed waters as well as seawater-processing treatment plants is expected to increase in the near future. As a consequence, knowledge on the diversity of the microbes present in these systems and their function becomes crucial. In the last years, I combined my experience in microbial ecology with my background in environmental microbiology and biotechnology to carry out projects linking microbial diversity in wastewater treatment systems and water reuse.
Ferrera I, Mas J, Taberna E, Sanz J, Sánchez O. 2015. BIOLOGICAL SUPPORT MEDIA INFLUENCE THE BACTERIAL COMMUNITY RESPONSIBLE FOR BIOFOULING IN TWO REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER RECLAMATION DEMONSTRATION PLANTS. Biofouling 31: 173-180. Read article
Ferrera I, Massana R, Balagué V, Pedrós-Alió C, Sánchez O, Mas J. 2010. EVALUATION OF DNA EXTRACTION METHODS FROM COMPLEX PHOTOTROPHIC BIOFILMS. Biofouling 26:349-357. Read article
Ferrera I, Massana R, Casamayor EO, Balagué V, Sánchez O, Pedrós-Alió C, Mas J. 2004. HIGH-DIVERSITY BIOFILM FOR THE OXIDATION OF SULFIDE-CONTAINING EFFLUENTS. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 64:726–734. Read article