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DUT: Researcher predicts the occurrence of hazardous wastewater bacteria

DUT: Researcher predicts the occurrence of hazardous wastewater bacteria

Media statement by Ms Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director: Corporate Affairs

Young researcher Dashika Naidoo has been detecting and identifying filamentous bacteria that affect the quality of sewage wastewater and cause huge damage in pipes including in wastewater treatment plants.

This is a first for South Africa as these bacteria have not been identified locally using the new and improved methods of identification and characterisation. This project aims to help engineers and to give perspective in reducing costs and to produce good effluent water quality. It also helps to design more efficient wastewater treatment processes for the future.

Naidoo is a researcher in the Department of Biotechnology, under the research niche area: Water and Wastewater at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). “Too much of the filamentous bacteria in wastewater treatment system cause major problems which cost industry and municipalities a lot of money to treat. There are many of these bacteria but identifying the actual one and relating it to its specific activities is a first for South Africa. If the occurrence of the bacteria is predicted, necessary precaution can be taken to ensure one gets good quality effluent water,” says Naidoo.

Naidoo has conducted a survey to identify and characterise these bacteria as part of her doctoral studies, which will be completed in the next few months. She uses molecular techniques to identify the filamentous bacteria. She says it is important to understand how this bacteria grows and what it likes in the wastewater so “we can prevent it from growing by reducing the nutrient that it likes in the water”. This may be oxygen or any other one.

She is in the process of publishing a paper on this work in the World journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology soon. She considers pursuing her postdoctoral studies as she enjoys doing research.

For more information contact:

Miss Dashika Naidoo
Department of Biotechnology
RNA: Water and Wastewater
Durban University of Technology

Tel: +27 31 373 2346
Fax: +27 31 373 2778
Mobile: +27 83 560 0026