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Date(s) - 29/10/2020
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Remote Webinar Participation

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Office Phone: 403-218-7700

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PTAC-Genome Alberta Technology Information Session – Genomics applications and technology development for the oil & gas sector

Alberta is home to some of the world’s top experts in oil & gas research and innovation. There is tremendous opportunity to apply the knowledge obtained from the genetics of living organisms in and around oil & gas systems to inform operations and performance. Genomics (DNA-based) technologies take advantage of this information to improve production, mitigate emissions, and expedite remediation. The purpose of this session is to share information on leading genomics technology and applications being developed for the benefit of Alberta and Canada’s energy sector. The researchers presenting at these sessions will share their plans and proposed efforts for enhanced oil recovery, biosurfactants, wetland treatment systems, and groundwater stewardship.

Genome Alberta is a not-for-profit funding organization that promotes genomics-enabled solutions across sectors. Genome Alberta works with their primary funding partner, Genome Canada, and others to support the development of genomics research proposals that will yield socioeconomic benefits. Genome Alberta has been supporting the presenting researchers in their applications to Genome Canada’s 2020 Large-Scale Applied Research Project (LSARP) Competition: Genomic Solutions in Natural Resources & the Environment.

1) Thursday, October 29th, 2020 – 11:00 am

Application of Genomics to Enhance Wetland Treatment Systems for Remediation of Processed Water in Northern Environments

Summary:  Efficient and large-scale oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) remediation technologies must be available to address the requirement for companies to effectively detoxify OSPW for future release. Constructed wetland treatment systems (CWTS) are one of very few feasible and cost-effective methods to clean-up large volumes of wastewaters. A better understanding of how these passive, low energy systems operate to treat industrial waste is essential, particularly in northern environments that are challenged by short summers and cold winters. Wetland treatment involves cooperative processes between naturally occurring microbial communities and wetland plants. However, the conditions required to establish optimal wetland biological communities to degrade and detoxify OSPW contaminants are not well developed. Optimizing the activity of microbial communities that associate with the soil substrate and plant roots is a key strategy toward enhancing efficient OSPW remediation The goal of this project is to develop and apply genomics-based methods to enhance and inform the efficacy and safety of CWTS for the treatment of OSPW.

Lead: Dr. Douglas Muench, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary

Co-Lead: Dr. Christine Martineau, Research Scientist Microbiome Genomics, Natural Resources Canada


2) Thursday, October 29th, 2020 – 11:35 am

Microbial Surfactants: discovery, characterization and application (MiSurf)

Summary: Surfactants (surface-active compounds: SACs) also known as detergents, wetting agents, solubilizers, emulsifiers, dispersants and foaming agents have widespread use in petroleum extraction, bioremediation and wastewater management. Currently, surfactants are derived primarily from chemical processes but these carry significant environmental burdens due to their poor biodegradability and general toxicity. Bacteria produce surfactants (biological surface-active compounds or BSACs) that have equal or better properties plus high biodegradability and low toxicity. There is increasing interest in replacing synthetic surfactants with these safer, eco-friendly, sustainable BSAC equivalents, which are also economically the most-sought after biotechnological compounds of the 21st century. However,  high cost and inefficient bioprocessing has mitigated the economical commercial production of BSACs.

Misurf project puts together methods and technologies that have never been combined on a significant scale to tackle these important obstacles identified by industry: producing promising new BSACs at a commercially viable cost. We will establish a full, functional ‘omics-methodology-empowered pipeline to: (1) characterize BSACs with industrially-relevant properties; (2) develop robust microbial platforms for BSAC production, modification and scale-up; (3) develop techno-economical models with partners to promote the transition to BSAC in specific industries. In so doing, we will provide Canadian industry with essential toolkit for large-scale production of BSACs and a competitive edge in the emerging market of “green” alternatives to industrial chemicals.

Lead: Dr. Alexei Savchenko, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary

Co-Lead: Dr. Eric Deziel, INRS Professor, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS)