Prof. Dr. Thorsten Stumpf

Director Institute of Resource Ecology
Phone: +49 351 260 3210

Ph.D. projects

Microbial diversity and activity in rock salt of potential nuclear waste repositories

Ph.D. student:
Madlen Bachran
Dr. Andrea Cherkouk (HZDR)

In addition to crystalline rock and clay rock, can rock salt be used as a potential host rock for a nuclear waste repository in Germany. Microorganisms can survive in these environments exhibiting a high content of salt. In these environments are mainly extreme halophilic archaea present. To gain knowledge about how these microorganisms influence the waste and the repository under repository relevant conditions, it is necessary to get an overview about the microorganisms living in the rock salt and to investigate their activity under repository relevant conditions.

For these reasons within the Ph.D. project a combination of culture-independent and culture-dependent approaches will be used to get an overview about the microbial diversity in rock salt. On the one hand genomic DNA will be extracted from the rock salt and analyzed by molecular biological methods (16S rRNA gene analysis, Next Gen sequencing (MiSeqIllumina)). On the other hand microbial isolates will be enriched and isolated from rock salt by using different cultivation approaches and investigated regarding its activity under repository relevant conditions (high temperature and radiation dose).