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Unraveling activated sludge bioflocculation Leuven Belgium,  

KU Leuven (company)

Posted on : 19 July 2017

Project Description

  • The cost efficiency and sustainability of biological wastewater treatment systems highly depends on the bioflocculation ability of the so-called activated sludge bacteria which should ensure a proper sludge-water separation. 
  • One of the most important building blocks of activated sludge flocs are the bacterial microcolonies which dictate the overall strength of the floc. 
  • This strength cannot be fully explained by the commonly accepted electrostatic and hydrophobic forces. Hence, this research will investigate whether lectins play a role in strong microcolony formation.
  •  Lectins are non-enzymatic proteins that can bind specific carbohydrates and typically accumulate on the outer cellular membrane.
  •  They have been reported to play an important role in, e.g., yeast bioflocculation and in the coaggregation of bacteria in dental plaque and aquatic biofilms but are thus far not thoroughly investigated in the context of activated sludge bioflocculation.
  • The here envisaged PhD project encompasses a strong experimental part in which a combination of wet chemical, molecular genetic, proteomic and (fluorescence) microscopy techniques are exploited to unravel the functionality and dynamics of lectins. 

  • You are passionate about  biological wastewater treatment systems 
  • You are skilled in basic  experimental work involving biological systems
  • Your possible skills regarding  molecular genetic techniques (such as FISH) are a plus
  • You  are proficient in written and spoken English  
  • You  are a good communicator
  • You  are a team player 
  • You  have did a ctical interests

  • Full-time 2-year contract, with  the possibility of an extension
  • Enrollment at one of the top universities  in Europe
  • Exciting and dynamic research  environment 
  • Competitive salary 


3000 Leuven Belgium

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