Expected results

The MIBIREM project is expected to deliver the following key results:

  1. The MIBIREM toolbox that combines and aligns existing and new tools, from sampling to piloting, in a complete service package for microbiome bioremediation, which includes:
    • Handbook for standardised sampling
    • Improved and innovative methods for the isolation, cultivation, evolution & enrichment of microbiomes
    • A modelling prediction tool for bioremediation
    • 3 pilot tests demonstrating the power of the MIBIREM toolbox in producing safe, upscaled, affordable and effective bioremediation.
  2. Modified microbiomes for bioremediation
  3. Public deposit of 300 sequenced, documented bioremediation strains, as well as a public deposit of several bioremediation microbiomes with high degradation capacity
  4. New standards for a quality-controlled deposit, preservation and distribution of bioremediation consortia
  5. Novel soil bac-traps to capture pollutant-degrading bacteria
  6. Policy recommendations to stimulate the uptake of bioremediation in the EU.

Economic impact

The MIBIREM toolbox, will transform the business case for microbiome-based bioremediation. MIBIREM has the potential to not only kick-start microbiome-based bioremediation, but more generally the use of microbiomes in biotechnology for advancing the circular economy.

By systematically combining state-of-the-art tools with new tools necessary for microbiomes, MIBIREM will establish microbiome-based bioremediation as a real economic alternative in the remediation industry. The innovative MIBIREM toolbox will act as a game-changer for the environmental application of microbiomes in bioremediation, thereby boosting European industrial sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence.

Ultimately, MIBIREM’s contribution will lead to bioremediation becoming widespread, thereby fostering green growth, while improving the environment at the same time. The MIBIREM toolbox will also enable remediation in sites where it was previously not possible, which will contribute to revitalize industrial areas across Europe.

Societal impact

Human-made substances contaminate soil and groundwater, thereby threatening delicate ecosystems and endangering human health. There is a huge need for cheaper and more sustainable remediation of contaminated sites in Europe. Thanks to its innovative toolbox, MIBIREM will build a strong case for authorities to systematically check for bioremediation potential on future remediation projects in Europe.

As bioremediation becomes widespread, it will reap multiple societal benefits: it will make investments in remediation more cost-efficient and as bioremediation can be cheaper than conventional remediation, it will also foster climate action by reducing CO2 emissions.

The competitive cost advantage of bioremediation will in turn increase the value of soil and groundwater as natural capital, while preserving biodiversity. MIBIREM will thereby also contribute to ensuring healthier soils in Europe, in line with the EU mission on soil health and food.

Scientific impact

The MIBIREM approach means defining a way how to best analyse and valorise microbiomes; how to combine tools and methodology in the research and analysis of microbiomes. MIBIREM microbiome analysis will generate many types of open data, including 300 annotated genomic sequences & metadata. The data will be translated into new knowledge e.g. on functions like pollutant-degradation pathways, relation between ecosystems and bacterial diversity and factors limiting bioremediation.

The MIBIREM approach will provide the knowledge-basis for a wide range of microbiome-based applications in biotechnology. Its knowledge, resources and tools, in particular from the MIBIREM toolbox, will also foster a paradigm shift from single strains to microbiomes. By transferring most results freely and granting open-access from the bioremediation scientific community to the much wider biotech sector, the potential of microbiomes for science and industry will be further increased significantly.