Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry
University of Toronto
Elizabeth A. Edwards, PhD, P. Eng., Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto. Dr. Elizabeth Edwards holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal, and a PhD degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. She is internationally known for her work on anaerobic bioremediation, the application of molecular biology and metagenomics to uncover novel microbial processes, and the transition of laboratory research into commercial practice to develop bioremediation and bioaugmentation strategies for groundwater pollutants. She is also the founding director of BioZone, a Centre for Applied Bioscience and Bioengineering Research at the University of Toronto and a Tier 1 Canada
SESSION KEYNOTE PRESENTER – Biological Treatment: Strength in Small Packages
Anaerobic Benzene Biodegradation
Benzene is a component of crude oil and gasoline and also a common industrial chemical. It is also a proven human carcinogen and a prevalent groundwater contaminant. Compared to other monoaromatic hydrocarbons like toluene, benzene is far more resistant to degradation in the absence of oxygen. Despite the relative persistence of benzene in anoxic groundwater plumes, microbial cultures have been enriched that are capable of degrading benzene anaerobically. The key organisms in these cultures have also been identified, and these appear to belong to relatively restricted phylogenetic groups. There is considerable interest in developing mechanistic understanding and specific biomarkers to confirm and monitor in situ anaerobic biodegradation of benzene.