H2020 program / Horizon Europe


Bioremediation systems exploiting synergies for improved removal of mixed pollutants

Principal Investigator
Team Leader

Ana Paula Mucha has a Degree in Aquatic Sciences (1993), a MSc in Ecology, Management and Modelling of Aquatic Resources (1997) and a PhD in Aquatic Sciences (2002). She has a research position at CIIMAR, University of Porto, Portugal, being member of the Board of Directors and the Principal Investigator of the ECOBIOTEC Team (Bioremediation and Ecosystems Functioning).

Also, she is an Invited Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology of Faculty of Sciences of University of Porto. She focuses her research on the relation between microorganisms and contaminants, aiming the development of bioremediation technologies for ecosystems recovery and environmental sustainability. She also explores the microbe-plant associations for the development of nature-based solutions for water management, and the microbe-animal interactions to increase environmental sustainability of aquaculture production.

She authored ca. 90 SCI papers including high profile journals in the field of Marine and Environmental Sciences. She has been involved in multiple regional, national and international projects, and presently coordinates CIIMAR participation in the European project “BIOSYSMO – BIOremediation systems exploiting SYnergieS for improved removal of Mixed pOllutants” (GAP-101060211). Also she coordinates the project “Ocean3R – Reduce pressures, restore and regenerate the NW-Portuguese ocean and waters” (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000064), and the Research Line 4 (Marine biobanks as tools for marine biotechnology) in the structured program of R&D ATLANTIDA – Platform for the monitoring of the North Atlantic Ocean and tools for the sustainable exploitation of the marine resources” (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000040). In addition, she has been involved as supervisor in several national and European Master and PhD programmes, and presently she co-coordinates the FCUP team responsible for the M2ex-European Joint Doctorate “Exploiting metal-microbe applications to expand the circular economy” (European Union; Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 861088).

Co-Principal Investigator
Team Leader

Marisa Almeida is a senior researcher at CIIMAR with ca. 140 international publications. With a PhD in Chemistry (obtained in 2003) her main research area is phytoremediation, participating actively in studies that aim to potentiate the use of these biotechnological tools as nature-based solutions to improve and recover aquatic environments contaminated with different pollutants. Her expertise is on environmental chemistry applied to coastal and estuarine environments and on phytoremediation of contaminants in natural and constructed wetlands for environmental recovery. She also actively participates in dissemination and communication activities in the frame of CIIMAR outreach projects on water and ocean literacy.


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BIOSYSMO is a 48-month action that will develop a computationally-assisted framework for designing and optimizing synergistic biosystems combining the required pathways and traits to achieve the most efficient degradation and sequestration of pollutant mixtures. These biosystems will comprise combinations of bacteria, fungi and plants containing the natural or engineered pathways required for pollutants degradation and identified based on a computationally-assisted analysis.

BIOSYSMO will take advantage of the high natural microbial diversity by screening samples from polluted sites and locations affected by diffuse pollution to identify natural microorganisms already present and able to metabolize the target pollutants. The search will be expanded to microorganisms previously identified and characterized by applying data mining tools to genomic and metagenomic data available in public repositories. The construction and optimization of synergistic biosystems will combine approaches based on 1) enhancing plant-microbe (bacteria, fungi) interactions to achieving combinations with improved pollutant uptake and/or degradation; 2) engineering bacteria, for improved degradation and bioaugmentation, and plants (poplar tree), for improved microbial colonization and pollutant uptake; 3) constructing artificial micro-structured consortia into aggregates and biofilms, containing all the required pathways for pollutant removal; and 4) applying bioelectrochemical systems (BES) as stand-alone or in hybrid systems. The different key players will be identified and combined to formulate innovative biosystems with the assistance of genome-scale metabolic (GEM) models for elucidating and simulating the key metabolic pathways. The constructed biosystems will be applied in conventional (phytoremediation, biopile, bioaugmentation) and innovative (BES, hybrid BES-phytoremediation) bioremediation approaches optimized for the treatment of mixtures of pollutants in soil, sediments and water.

Leader Institution
Idener Research & Development Agrupacion de Interes Economico, Spain
Horizon Europe
Other projects