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Management of post-mining waste areas through cyanobacterial bioengineering – BIONEER project

Management of post-mining waste areas through cyanobacterial bioengineering – BIONEER project




Åbo Akademi


  • University of Novi Sad
  • Finansiär

  • Konestiftelsen (september 2022)
  • Budget

    219 800 euro

    In the BIONEER project, an environmentally friendly and economic solution is being developed to rehabilitate the soil of hazardous mining waste areas.
    The purpose is to reduce erosion caused by water and wind in waste areas, prevent the release of toxic soil particles into the air and surrounding waters, reduce the acidity and toxicity of runoff water, and reduce the migration of heavy metals into groundwater, which limits damage to the environment and improves local well-being.
    Our working group has studied cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and their chemical compounds occurring in the aquatic environment and terrestrial ecosystems for more than three decades. The project utilizes this knowledge and uses soil cyanobacteria as a biotechnological tool. The project is looking for strains of cyanobacteria that thrive in hostile environments characterized by, for example, heavy metals, lack of nutrients and limited water availability. In order to succeed in restrictive environmental conditions, cyanobacteria synthesize extracellular polymer compounds (EPS), which act as a buffer zone between cells and the environment, regulate water availability and help in the acquisition of nutrients. Cyanobacteria and their EPS compounds have been shown to play a significant role in soil stabilization against erosion.
    It is expected that the end result of the project will be cyanobacterial strains that a) thrive in difficult conditions, b) produce a lot of EPS compounds and c) are in themselves harmless to the environment (non-toxic).
    The project is based on the idea that cyanobacterial inoculation can artificially accelerate the soil’s natural colonization and ability to resist erosion. The added cyanobacterial strains create favorable conditions for the subsequent formation of lichen and moss communities, which further develop into plant populations through succession.
    The project is funded by the KONE Foundation.

    Kontakta oss

    Jussi Meriluoto (Ansvarig forskare)



    Fakulteten för naturvetenskaper och teknik

    Peter Österholm


    i miljögeologi

    Geologi och mineralogi

    Fakulteten för naturvetenskaper och teknik
    Till projektsidan i Åbo Akademis forskningsportal