Linking contaminant biotransformation to influencing factors and microbial community characteristics
This topic stands at the core of the conference. We intend to give some room to more traditional studies that look at the influence of environmental and/or operational conditions on microbial biotransformation (Topic 2a) since a lot of important knowledge has been generated at this level that should not be missed. This will include discussions on how different phenomena related to bioavailability limitations influence biotransformation but also cover the influence of different factors known to be important including temperature, pH, and the availability of nutrients, primary substrates and/or co-factors. A major part of the topic, however, will be dedicated to studies that attempt to establish a more mechanism-based linkage between the agents of contaminant biotransformation (i.e., specific enzymes or microorganisms) and observed contaminant biotransformation rates and pathways (Topic 2b). Here, we particularly hope to see results from attempts to establish linkages between metagenomic and metatranscriptomic information and observed variability in biotransformation for a broad range of contaminants. We also seek for studies that explored avenues to experimentally establish or confirm some of these hypothesized linkages such as studies with purified enzymes, inhibitors, or isotope-labeling of degrading organisms. Under this topic, we also hope to see a cross-fertilization between researchers studying pesticide biodegradation in soil and those that study biotransformation of wastewater pollutants in activated sludge and biofiltration systems. Further, we hope to explore some of the related questions around metabolic and co-metabolic contaminant biotransformation. What conditions and types of contaminants foster one or the other? Which techniques are best suited to study the two different types of mechanisms?