Microbial ecosystem and purification and recovery processes (Team EAD9)

Mathieu SPERANDIO, Team-Leader Ecosystèmes microbiens et bioprocédés d'épuration et de valorisation

mathieu.sperandio@insa-toulouse.fr - 05 61 55 97 55


A team dedicated to go from the treatment to waste recovery

SYMBIOSE : it is the usual name of the team EAD9 that perfectly illustrates both its focus and its operating mode. Within the LISBP, the EAD 9, with 10 permanent employees, is characterized by its relative small size which favors interactions, and a thematic specificity, the study of the mixed populations associated to the notion of ecology.

The overall objective of the team turns on the removal and the recovery of the urban / industrial liquid / solid waste and is based on three axes: (i) the reduction of the environmental impact of the bioprocesses by a mechanism of bioremoval, (ii) the recovery and the production of biobased molecules from the recovery of carbon and nutrients (phosphorus in particular) coming from the biomass and (iii) the control of the sanitary risks linked to micropollutants and biocontaminants.

This objective is included into a global evolution of the sector of the treatment of solids and liquid wastes from a pure curative approach towards and integrative approach associating treatment and recovery as illustrated by the production of biodegradable bioplastics or substituents of fertilizer.


From ecology to modeling

To achieve its scientific objective, understanding of the dynamics of microbial populations and functions and define the bioreactors and the most efficient systems, the team has adopted a project-based approach based on alliance between a vision "Modeling" and an approach "Microbial Ecology".

In terms of technology, the team's work is based on the use of instrumented reactors with online activity measuring, technical analysis method of organic and chemical species and microenvironment characterization (chromatography, mass spectrometry, microscopy, particle size, rheology ...), the use of modeling tools, simulation and software. A platform for quantitative and functional ecology including molecular biology tools has been implemented within the LISBP.


Strategy for collaboration and dissemination

From ideas germinating in the laboratory or from industrial partnership proposals, the team relies on a dissemination strategy in the form of R & D collaborations and services. The underlying approach is here to start from industrial issues to raise scientific obstacles. At the firm level, several collaborations have been perpetuated with large groups such as Total, Veolia, Saint Gobain / Pont à Mousson and with a network of SMEs, upstream subjects being supported by INRA and CNRS.

At the international level, the team has developed a strong focus of partnership with China, Germany, Tunisia and Switzerland.

Over the past 5 years, the team has published more than forty peer-reviewed papers and deposited two patents.


Examples of projects

Declining the key thematic of the team, projects materialize this partnership approach, with national and international academic sector and the private sector.

  • Control the bio-crystallization and biological granulation: PHOSPH'OR and VALORCAP projects combine a dozen partners in the framework of an ANR project started in 2009 and a regional project that is the subject of two PhD. The objective is here to develop methods of recycling phosphorus in a form recoverable in agriculture, including fertilizer substitution, by using a biological granulation method for inducing production of compounds with high phosphorus content.
  • Towards a breakthrough in the lines of transport and treatment of water: A new integrated vision emerges through several complementary projects guided by optimization of transport, source separation, and recovery of urban wastewater. CreativERU project (ANR labeled by the pole EAU) relies on a breakthrough concept coupling two types of bioreactors valuing carbon anaerobically for energy production and converting nitrogen in membrane bioreactors. In other words, produce energy in wastewater treatment plants rather than consume. Initiated in 2010 for 3 years, this project includes Veolia as industrial partner.
  • In a different vein, BioFimE study the influence of the physical structure of a biofilm on the action of a biocide in the sector of the paper industry.