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Doctoral defence of Mahboubeh Kafil, MSc, 15.1.2024: Utilization of biomaterials for wastewater treatment and biofuel production

The doctoral dissertation in the field of Environmental Engineering will be examined at the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology, Kuopio Campus and online.

What is the topic of your doctoral research? Why is it important to study the topic?

Due to the growth of the world’s population, water contamination is unavoidable. Therefore, wastewater treatment has been a big problem in recent times. According to regulations by governments, sustainable development of the economy should be conducted by developing actions that protect the environment. An important goal of this law is reducing the consumption of raw materials which are non-renewable especially if derived from natural sources. Therefore, this doctoral thesis aims to use renewable biological materials for wastewater treatment and the production of biodiesel as a clean energy.

What are the key findings or observations of your doctoral research?

As a sustainable method for wastewater treatment, the use of biomaterials is an interesting topic among scientific community. However, the major challenge of using biomaterials is their low efficiency especially in the exposure of toxic environmental conditions such as in the presence of heavy metals. 

The aim of my study was to discover innovative and highly efficient biomaterials for cleaning up contaminants from wastewater. For instance, the positive effect of proposed new methods for increasing the potential of microalgae for tolerating toxic environmental conditions was confirmed. Besides, innovative non-living biomaterials for the removal of emerging contaminant was synthesized and their high efficiency was confirmed by experiments. 

Therefore, with considering the new method for the cultivation of microalgae and new procedure for synthesizing biomaterials in my study, the high potential of microalgae and other biomaterials for wastewater treatment was confirmed.

How can the results of your doctoral research be utilised in practice?

In practice, the use of synthesized biomaterials also is recommended for future studies. In addition, the positive effect of cultivation mode and inoculation concentration of microalgae on decreasing heavy metal stress was promising in the lab scale; therefore, the application of the new proposed methods in pilot scale with using real wastewater is also recommended for future perspective.

What are the key research methods and materials used in your doctoral research?

The process of my doctoral research are: 

1. Research proposal which begin by developing a new idea or method for solving real world challenges or problems, outlines the objectives and research questions as well as the methods that is going to be used 

2. Literature review which involve studying relevant scientific articles, papers and books 

3. Data collection which is conducted by doing laboratory experiments, sample collection and measurement

 4. Data analysis: to interpret and analyze data, I used SPSS statistic software. Also, various models were used to study the behavior of synthesized materials in the experimental conditions towards the removal of different contaminants

5. Results and findings: The findings of doctoral research were presented in a coherent and clear manner which include the summarizing the results, interpretation and discussing the results in relation to the knowledge existing in my field of study which was published in high ranking journals 

6. Writing dissertation and defense which involves synthesizing the research finding, literature review and analysis of research topic comprehensively.

The doctoral dissertation of Mahboubeh Kafil, MSc, entitled Utilization of biomaterials for wastewater treatment and biofuel production will be examined at the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology, Kuopio Campus. The opponent will be Professor Mehdi Khiadani, Edith Cowan University,  and the custos will be Professor Frank Berninger, University of Eastern Finland. Language of the public defence is English.

For more information, please contact: 

Mahboubeh Kafil,, tel. +358 41 470 8731