NYMPHE Project kicks off to tackle environmental pollution

And off we go! The Nymphe Project (New sYsteM-driven bioremediation of Polluted Habitats and Environment) has officially started. The host of the kick-off meeting held on January 18-19, 2023 was the scientific coordinator of the project, The University of Bologna. 18 project partners coming from 12 European countries represent 9 Universities and research institutions, 6 SMEs, 1 large company and 2 NGOs. Members of the project were familiarized with the structure, modus operandi and detailed activities for the following years.

Nymphe is a four years project, funded under the Horizon Europe Program and dedicated to the bioremediation of polluted environments. The project targets to develop new effective "real situation-tailored" and "nature-inspired" bioremediation/revitalization strategies in different polluted environments using matrices taken from four contaminated European sites. Nymphe has the ambition of removing at least 90% of the main pollutants (e.g. plastics and pesticides in the agricultural soil, and chlorinated solvents/total petroleum hydrocarbon in groundwater and sediments of the industrial site) from each of the matrices of the four sites. After the process, the contaminated sites shall reach the highest environmental quality standards and their ecological status, with improved biodiversity, shall be closer to Natura 2000 specifications, with the intention to extend the Natura 2000 network.

Nymphe's actions will improve overall environmental performance (soil and sediment health, water quality, reduction of emissions, etc.) and lower toxicity of processes, products and services by means of biotechnologies. This approach to favour nature-based, low-energy and low-chemical solutions to eliminate pollutants will contribute to the expected outcomes of the EU Zero Pollution Action Plan: "Towards a Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil" - a key deliverable of the European Green Deal.

Project's goals of bioremediation/revitalization of soil, especially agricultural ones and improvement of water bodies and sediments will also be a step towards the fulfilment of four out of the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals defined in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure a prosperous and peaceful world by 2030. These are: quantity and quality of food production (SDG2), living in a healthy environment (SDG3), achieving water quality (SDG6), protect life below water and on earth (SDGs 14 and 15).

By developing strategies to recycle/reuse bivalves as bioremediation agents and elaborating scenarios for the valorization of plants used for phytoremediation Nymphe will act in accordance with the New Circular Economy Action Plan designed to reduce pressure on natural resources which is an essential factor to reach climate neutrality in Europe by 2050.