BBSRC DTP-funded PhD Student
The objective of my research is to apply the anammox reaction, performed by ammonia oxidising bacteria (AOB), to the removal of ammonium from landfill leachate. In excess of 5 million tonnes of leachate is generated by decommissioned landfill sites annually across England. High concentrations of ammonium promote eutrophication, thus landfill leachate poses a major risk to the environment, particularly aquatic mammals and invertebrates. Ordinarily, leachate is removed from landfill sites and transported to wastewater treatment facilities in order to extract the ammonium safely; with these treatment costs increasing inline with the ammonium content of the wastewater presented. Mayton Wood, the decommissioned site used in this study, requires the leachate tank to be emptied six times a week. A tanker collects the untreated leachate from the site and transports it 11 miles to the Anglian Water water treatment facility. This project proposes a waste management strategy that is not only environmentally sustainable, but a cheaper, more cost effective strategy for councils to implement nationwide.
This research will utilise the reed beds on site at Mayton Wood, planted with Phragmites australis, to assess the presence of anammox activity. Previous sampling of the reed beds has confirmed the presence of AOBs that are capable of initiating and sustaining the anammox reaction. This PhD project aims to characterise the microbial community responsible for driving anammox activity and to quantify the rate of anammox taking place within the reed bed system. The application of mass spectrometry, specifically N15 tracing, will provide insights into the overall nitrogen fluxes within the system. Furthermore, this project will also analyse the effects of nitrification inhibitors on the performance of anammox bacteria - with this data further informing the constitution of new reed beds that are due to be installed.
Before joining the Lehtovirta-Morley lab, I completed my BSc in Biology at Swansea University (2018 - 2021), with my third year project using Winogradsky columns to simulate the effects of fertiliser addition on freshwater ecosystems.
School of Biological Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK