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MSc thesis research project - Anaerobic biotransformation of ethylene dibromide

The Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH - UFZ offers the following or master thesis:

MSc thesis research project - Anaerobic biotransformation of ethylene dibromide

MSc thesis research topic for students enrolled in a university programme interested to work on the enrichment of anaerobic microorganisms capable of contaminant degradation and the characterisation of degradation applying compound-specific stable isotope analysis. Ihre Aufgaben: Brominated organic substances are widely used as e.g. brominated flame retardants, fumigants and pesticides. Although much is known about the biotransformation of chlorinated analogues, little is known about the degradation of brominated chemicals thus far. In our laboratory, we enriched microorganisms capable of the biotransformation of ethylene dibromide (EDB) under anoxic conditions. Furthermore, certain Dehalococcoides mccartyi strains can dehalogenate EDB, in addition to a variety of chlorinated compounds. The enrichments will be further characterized concerning their substrate specificity and stable isotope fractionation (C, Br, H) of EDB will provide additional information on the reaction.

The tasks of the planned research include:
  • further enrichment of EDB degrading microorganisms
  • degradation experiments with the strict anaerobic D. mccartyi strains and enrichments
  • analysis of metabolites using GC-FID
  • compound-specific stable isotope analysis (e.g. C, H, Br) of EDB during degradation

Ihr Profil: We are looking for a motivated candidate (m/f) currently enrolled in a Diploma or MSc programme with a strong interest in microbiology, geoecology, environmental science, analytical chemistry or similar. The thesis can start as soon as possible and will take six to nine months. Additionally, an internship for an introduction to the topic prior to the thesis research is possible. The working place will be Leipzig.
Wir bieten:
  • Great insights into the work in a leading research institute
  • Individual supervision with the possibility to contribute your own ideas
  • An own topic to work on independently
  • Work in international teams

How to apply:
Closing date for applications:

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Your contact for any questions you may have about the job:
For more information contact Dr. Ivonne Nijenhuis ( or Steffi Franke (
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About Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ

The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ was established in 1991 and has more than 1,100 employees in Leipzig, Halle/S. and Magdeburg. They study the complex interactions between humans and the environment in cultivated and damaged landscapes. The scientists develop concepts and processes to help secure the natural foundations of human life for future generations.

More about Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ

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