Objectives

Human activities are associated with increasing amounts of waste that ultimately find their ways into European waters and have negative consequences on the environment. With the background of an aging population and increasing urbanization, wastewater treatment must specifically target pharmaceutical products (PPs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) so that these highly biologically-active compounds are eliminated from the water resource.

If conventional treatment technologies are very efficient on a large number of compounds, some chemicals, such as pharmaceutical residues and endocrine disruptors, are recalcitrant and are not removed. The chronic exposure to these compounds is a topic of threat as the long term effects are so far unpredictable and undocumented. This issue has recently drawn the interest of many medical professionals, eco-toxicologists and environmental and health agencies. The global objective of the ENDETECH program is to develop a technology which aims at eliminating persistent pharmaceutical pollutants in wastewaters originating from drug manufacturing sites, households, hospitals and animal farms, thanks to an innovative ENzymatic DEcontamination TECHnology.

The pharmaceutical pollutants targeted in priority during this project will be antibiotics and hormones & endocrine disruptors.

The ENDETECH program is articulated around three main steps:

  1. Enzyme libraries will be screened to identify novel enzymes able to inactivate the selected pollutants;
  2. The discovered enzymes will be immobilized on beads or membranes and subsequently;
  3. Used in bioreactors to decontaminate waste effluents.

The ENDETECH network is composed of 3 SMEs and 3 RTD organizations. It comprises all the needed and complementary skills for the project in the fields of enzyme screening, optimization and immobilization, bioreactor development & design and chemical & eco-toxicological analysis.