Gabriela is here to clean up pollutants from our pulp industry

Tue 07 Jan 2020 11:13

Gabriela Paladino from Argentina is a postdoc researcher in Mid Sweden University’s fiber banks project BioRem Fiber. She came here int the fall of 2019 to work with the other researchers in the project.

Photo of Gabriela Paladino

What is BioRem Fiber?

Their goal is to investigate sustainable biological methods to detoxify fiber banks materials from the wood pulp industry in our region. The researchers aim to do this by using plants, bacteria and fungus and then find innovative solutions for reusing detoxified materials. According to Gabriela these biological methods are more environmental friendly, cost efficient and has more public acceptance than other cleanup methods.

-This area of research is relatively new in environmental remediation. Even though polluted fiber banks are very common in Sweden, there hasn´t been much research on their remediation as it has been for oil polluted waste for instance, she says. And that makes it interesting in a scientific perspective.


Gabrielas role in the project

Gabrielas main focus in the project is to find plants that will fit in this process, preferably local species that will grow naturally in Sweden. The first stage is finding plants that can grow in the fiber bank material. Then see which ones that can extract the heavy metals and biodegrade the organic pollutants from it. This approach is called phytoremediation. So there is a quite specified search criteria.

- We are also focusing on what to do with harvested plants, once they have extracted the pollutants. Thus, criteria to choose the plants to be tested includes the possibilities of reusing them for biofuel or recovering useful products for example, says Gabriela. Then, with SCA as a partner in the project, we have talked about using trees from their product chain, as spruce and pine, for this process.


Gabrielas background

Gabriela Paladino holds a BSc. in Environmental Sciences, a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Engineering (two-year program) and a PhD in Biology from the National University of Comahue in Argentina. Gabriela has been working with environmental management and consulting for companies in Argentinas Oil industry which is one of the main production industries in the  Patagonia region

She worked with environmental and waste management during four years and then did her PhD researching for biological treatment solutions for the wastes coming from drilling oil wells. She experimented with plants and with organic waste like left-over food together with bacteria to find ways to bioremediate the oil polluted waste. A technique called bioremediation by composting

She was also a teaching assistant in environmental engineering undergraduate courses and in postgraduate courses. After finishing her PhD, Gabriela served as a director of a postgraduate program in organic waste and wastewater treatment.

Gabriela has also been participating incomposting and bioremediation projects in Uruguay and Antarctica before coming here to Sweden.

Read more about the project BioRem Fiber


The page was updated 12/20/2021