Environmental Biotechnology and Eco-toxicology Group

Faculty:Science

Background/Research Issues of the Group

The menace of petroleum pollution, plant biomass wastes and other organic wastes contributes to diverse human health hazards and vegetation retardation on land while in water they may be toxic to aquatic animals. Also, the issue of resistance and toxicity globally have led to the sought for novel and natural products of medicinal importance most especially from plants and microorganisms. The search for solutions to the seemingly unending challenges arising from issues relating to pollution, toxicity and resistance and their damaging effects necessitated the search for “clean technologies” for the production of bio based chemicals, biomolecules and bioenergies. Significant advances have been made towards bioconversion of food, animal, industrial and plant biomass wastes into bio-base products in the developed nations whereas the contribution of such resources to bio-based economy in the developing nations is currently negligible. Meanwhile, wastes are generated in large quantities in these part of the world (due to poor storage facilities) and often pose environmental hazards because they are indiscriminately disposed by burning (leading to respiratory disorders in humans) or by dumping into water bodies creating anoxic condition resulting to death of aquatic animals. Moreover, this practice is a gross wastage of resources which could be harnessed for biotechnological purposes for the production of bioenergies and biomolecules mostly used as polymers, additives and preservatives in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

When used as substrates for microbial conversion to bio-baseconsumables, wastes could replace the non-renewable hazardous fossil products. This will ultimately bring about a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with subsequent improved air quality leading to a reduction in ecological degradation and other dangers associated with the use of fossil fuel for oil- based consumables; conferring a biotechnology with a double advantage of bioremediation and production of value-added products. Hence, our research output is set to bring about economic advancement (entrepreneurship), social- economic development in terms of job creation,  reduction in import bill and international collaboration; making multiple contributions to the fight to eradicate poverty. Though academia and industries are two cultures that differ from one another; we are focused on bridging the gap between the “town and gown”

Aim: We aim to

  • Clean the environment by removal and conversion of wastes through environmental-friendly biotechnologies
  • Contribute to economic advancement (entrepreneurship)
  • Improve social- economic development (Job creation)
  • Reduce importation billsto build a self-sufficient nation
  • Contribute to poverty eradication

Objectives: The main objectives of this group include

  • Removal of pollutants from the environment
  • Generation of value-added products from wastes(From “waste to wealth”)
  • Application of biomarkers for the measurement of toxicity in aquatic species exposed toPAHs, organochlorine pesticides, effluents and coastal sediments
  • Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
  • Tracking of antimicrobial resistant bacteria of environmental and zoonotic sources including tracking of resistance reservoirs and the molecular investigation of their genetic basis of resistance
  • Quality control of consumables and sterile pharmaceutical products.
  • Complex behavior of biological systems

Research Areas/Focus:

  • Bioremediation of polluted ecosystems.
  • Bioconversion of wastes to bio energies such as biogas, bioethanol and organic acids of industrial importance.
  • Production of biomolecules e.g. bio-enzymes, antioxidants, biosurfactants; including antimicrobial agent development from secondary metabolites of medicinal plants and microbes
  • Kinetic studies of reactions in solutions
  • Developmental biomarkers and their mechanisms of toxicity in fish exposed to PAHs, organochlorine pesticides, effluents and coastal sediments.
  • Antimicrobial agent and chemotherapy
  • Antimicrobial resistant bacteria of environmental and zoonotic sources including tracking of resistance reservoirs and the molecular investigation of their genetic basis of resistance.
  • Quality control of consumables and sterile Pharmaceutical products.
  • Complex behavior of Biological systems