Teaching in time of Covid-19

It’s been a most difficult year 2020 which forced us academics to quickly adapt or even reinvent our teaching methods in the light of the constantly changing circumstances of the pandemic. Some things have changed for the better, and maybe the big class lecture will become a thing of the past. But practical skills are difficult to learn remotely, and challenging to deliver with social distancing. In the recently refurbished, well-equipped and spacious Houston Lab, we were able to deliver the membrane filtration practical in Buffer Week in November to small cohorts of students. Many thanks to the technical team for setting up, decommissioning, and disinfecting all of the set-ups between each practical.

Multi-drug resistant bacteria in Malaysian River correlate with faecal pollution indicators

From training into practice: Our collaborators at NUMed in Malaysia have published a paper showing that surrogate markers, such dissolved oxygen, Bacteroides and Prevotella abundances estimated from MinION sequencing data, and the rodA qPCR assay for total E. coli, can identify locations on a river that deserve immediate attention to mitigate AMR spread through improved waste management.

Kishor and the MinION training workshop participants at NU Med, Malaysia. Jia Ye Ho (bottom left) and Jeyanthy Eswaran (center back) are the first and corresponding authors of the paper.

Coconut husk biochar amendment enhances nutrient retention by suppressing nitrification in agricultural soil following anaerobic digestate application

Research by Jidapa (Aom) Plaimart shows that the combined application of digestate with coconut husk biochar is a promising biotechnology for sustainable agriculture, promoting the circular re-use of agricultural waste residues, in addition to renewable energy generation. Read her article in Environmental Pollution.

Chlorination effects on DNA based characterization of water microbiomes and implications for the interpretation of data from disinfected systems

Kishor, with our colleagues in Tanzania, has published an article in the Journal of Environmental Management showing that DNA fragments are much more resilient under chlorination than intact cells or culturable bacteria. Consequently, complementary plate count methods remain essential for the correct interpretation of molecular data for disinfected waters. An important insight gained from the IMAGINE project.

Kishor wins Rapid Response Funding

Dr Kishor Acharya was awarded a Rapid Response Grant from the Global Challenge Academy to work with the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA), Addis Ababa University and the International Water Management Institute, in Ethiopia. The project aim is to share best practice for personnel working in the collection, treatment and management of wastewater.