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Development of an Indicator-System for Ochrous Deposition Processes in the National Park “Unteres Odertal”


Floodplains belong to the most diverse and species rich ecosystems in the world. They play an essential role in the processing and decomposition of organic matter and in the self-purification ability of rivers, largely due to the activity of bacteria.

The investigated Oder floodplain is located in the National Park Lower Oder Valley at the North-East border of Germany. Due to the special geographical location of this wetland, the iron cycle plays an important role in this present habitat. Anaerobic iron reduction in the floodplain sediments as well as iron oxidation and precipitation in the river Oder is mediated by microorganisms. Iron bacteria, representing all bacteria able of oxidising and depositing iron, are found in natural water systems and soils, as well as during processing of groundwater during drinking water production.

The diversity of bacteria responsible for turnover processes and their role in iron oxidation is so far unclear since most observations and examinations are based on microscopic and morphologic characterization. In this ongoing interdisciplinary research project the diversity, phylogeny, physiology and technical application of iron oxidizing bacteria is being examined. We are interested in identifying the key players involved in iron oxidation.

For this purpose, traditional cultivation techniques such as bacterial isolation on new developed media and molecular methods like PCR-DGGE, CARD-FISH, RT-PCR and generation of 16S rDNA metagenomic library were combined. Furthermore, the involvement of iron bacteria in the degradation of recalcitrant pollutants is studied in connection with drinking water treatment processes and in natural water bodies (River Oder). Pharmaceuticals (e.g. phenazone) are used as model pollutants and their degradation is studied in fixed bed reactors aside the floodplains of the River Oder.

Iron Bacteria

This project is supported by the BMBF.

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Kontakt / Contact

Dr. rer. nat. Burga Braun
+ 49 30 314 73566
Room BH-N 615