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CeBER Seminar 2016 #4: Dr Palesa Diale

Dr Palesa Diale
Dr Palesa Diale

CeBER Seminar 2016 #4

Date: 4th March

Guest Speaker: Dr Palesa Diale

After completion of her PhD at the University of Witwatersrand, Dr Diale joined CeBER in 2015 as a postdoctoral research fellow.  In today’s seminar, Dr Diale discussed pollution, in particular acid mine drainage, as the strong motivation behind her PhD and postdoctoral research.   By sampling nearby dams and rivers, she saw that effluent from the mining industry resulted in acidic pH, high uranium levels and the presence of heavy metals.  She pointed out the importance of using new ways of thinking to solve the environmental problems that the mining and chemical industries have created.  In her PhD work she studied a biological-based approach to dealing with the toxic heavy metal contamination caused by acid mine drainage, using microalgae (Desmodesmus sp.) immobilized in a calcium alginate matrix. Her results demonstrated the ability of microalgae to be used a biosorbent for a range of heavy metals found in polluted waters.  In her postdoctoral work Dr Diale will investigate methods of desorbing the metals from the algae, and the potential to re-use the algal biomass.