European initiative to restore polluted sites with the participation of CBGP

CBGP is participating in a LIFE+ project that combines innovative biological technologies and in situ chemical oxidation to degrade organic pollutants in military and industrial sites.


The main objective of this project (acronym BIOXISOIL) is to develop a robust, efficient and environmentally friendly protocol to degrade persistent organic pollutants such as those present in fuel and explosive derivatives. The Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) participates through the Center for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP) and the Forestry School (ETSI Montes).


Different scenarios will be tested where in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) is combined with innovative biological technologies such as phytoremediation and biodegradation, to address the restoration of heavily contaminated industrial and military sites. The participants expect to develop and validate general guidelines, useful for similar actions based on the paradigm of Green Remediation.


The European Environment Agency has estimated that about half a million such sites need urgent remediation in the EU, with costs being anticipated at around one billion euros. In Spain there are thousands of polluted sites, many of which are near protected natural areas, such as the military enclave in the Bay of Cadiz where BIOXISOIL will be implemented.


Luis Gómez Fernández, Professor of the Department of Biotechnology and principal investigator of this Project at UPM, has highlighted that the expected benefits include “a substantial reduction of current contamination and a complete site restoration, including soil functionality”.


BIOXISOIL’s €2.7 million budget will be managed by a consortium composed by UPM, the Spain’s Navy (Department of Defense), the Center for Energetic, Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT), and the Association for Research and Industrial Development of Natural Resources (AITEMIN).