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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