Olha at VALGO

We are proud to present a guest post from Olha, a student in our Environmental Science Master program. Olha joined ISA Lille in 2016 thanks to our Erasmus+ KA107 International Credit Mobility Project with her home university, Zhytomyr State Technological University in Ukraine.

Internship Experience 

“I am a second-year Master of Science and Engineering in Environmental Science student specializing in Sustainable Management of Pollution (SMaP) at ISA Lille. I am currently doing my second internship in the soil remediation company named VALGO. My internship is 

focused on a project called:Role of a new strains of mesophilic bacterium in biodegradation of VOCs. This work is organizedby VALGO remediation company (Petit-Couronne) in collaboration with Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO, University of Aix-Marseille). 

VALGO is a specialist in rehabilitation of sites and polluted soils, an innovator in various processes for the treatment of contaminated soils and evolved the concepts of re-industrialization of the site. In this respect, VALGO has acquired the site of the former refinery “Pétroplus” in Petit-Couronne, on which several upgrading projects are being carried out. VALGO has its own laboratory of Research & Development. This strategic positioning allows the company to be reactive to the daily about the solutions to clean-up deployed at each site. The work of R&D conducted in partnership with schools, universities or companies, to develop innovative techniques for clean-up. 

The MIO is a research laboratory in Oceanology of the Universities of Aix Marseille, Toulon, CNRS and IRD. Its objectives are to better understand the ocean system and its evolution in response to global change. It is a centre of expertise in marine biology, ecology, biodiversity, microbiology, fisheries, physics, chemistry, biogeochemistry and sedimentology. Its exercise frameworks are the world ocean, its interfaces with the continent, the atmosphere and the sediment. The laboratory is the result of the merger of the research units of the Oceanology Centre of Marseille, LSEET, a researcher IRPHE and LMBEC. My work was done in the Marseille-Luminy campus under the supervision of Bernard Ollivier, director of research IRD Institute Mediterranean of Oceanology. 

Thus, currently I am working on investigations of a new strains of bacteria, which were found in polluted sites. The aim is to understand the role of these new bacterial strains in the environment and its potential for biodegradation of VOCs. Due to the collaboration of VALGO with Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO) I got one month of training at their laboratory in Marseille. The work is related to microbiology, growth and replication of bacteria strains, which were not isolated by any other laboratory. 

I already had an opportunity to learn about cultivation of this anaerobic bacteria, its co-culturing with other group of bacteria and I finished my work in Marseille by testing different type of conditions and sources of sugar, to determine best ones for this bacteria genus. I performed a PCR experiments with DNA extraction and sequencing. All these tests helped me to accomplish further steps in development of protocol for investigation of this bacteria and its role in biodegradation of VOCs. The results of this study will have an important role for the future improvement of bioremediation. 

After Marseille I departed to Petit-Couronne to perform my test. Currently, I am finishing design of the experiment and I will start it soon. In case of success will be performed similar tests but with other contaminants to investigate all potential of this bacteria. Moreover, we will design a new protocol for the in-situ experiments.

Required skills for this mission: organization of work, accuracy and autonomy; ability to design a protocol for the experiment (in the laboratory an in-situ); general knowledge in microbiology, physicochemical properties of pollutants and in-situ remediation techniques. 

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