Remediation and recovery of metals from mine effluents using genetically engineered microbial systems

Mines generate metal-contaminated wastewater that needs to be cleaned before it can be re-used by the mine or discharged into the environment. There are several ways to remove this metal, but many of these technologies are expensive and require non-renewable materials to work. Biological methods to remove these metals are promising renewable alternatives, but they have their limitations too: a lack of specificity for metals and the need to destroy the biomass to recover the metal for profit. The goal of this project is to use synthetic biology to engineer microbes to specifically capture low concentrations of nickel from Sudbury mine wastewater and return it to the mine in a concentrate that can eventually be purified.

Patrick Diep
Faculty Supervisor: 
Radhakrishnan Mahadevan
Partner University: