21EBTA - Engineering Microbial Metal Recovery (EMMR)

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Biosciences


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Technical Summary

The aim of the Engineering Microbial Metal Recovery (EMMR) consortium is to use genetic engineering to deliver a platform technology for metal removal and biorecovery. Focusing on a robust and scalable bacterial system (Shewanella), with well-known capabilities to recover high oxidation waste metals as valuable nanoparticles, we will expand the portfolio of metals that can be targeted to include emerging e-tech metals that are currently difficult and costly to recycle. Two exemplars have been selected; Au (toxic and redox active) and REEs (non-redox active and difficult to treat). A range of novel approaches will be combined to develop a flexible platform technology that can be used to compartmentalise the chosen metal in discrete locations within the microbial cell, facilitating selective removal from complex matrices and where required the formation of functional biominerals of commercial potential. Links with key industrial partners will be facilitated by the BBSRC E3B NIBB, including companies developing consumer e-waste re-cycling (Mint: Au) and battery/catalysis technologies (JM: REEs). The EMMR project will deliver solutions for emerging and critical sector (e-waste recycling), while delivering a platform technology that can be developed for other biotechnological applications, including bioremediation and metal recovery from mine wastes, nuclear clean-up and bionanotechnology. Developing follow-on applications in these sectors, alongside scale-up and implementation plans for EMMR technologies to e-waste recycling will be an explicit output of this 24 month project.


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Description Engineering Microbial Metal Recovery 
Organisation University of Manchester
Department School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This Collaboration is part of the larger grant award 21EBTA - Engineering Microbial Metal Recovery lead by University of Manchester. Our contribution is engineering bacterial metabolic pathways for enhanced metal tolerance during metal waste recovery processes.
Collaborator Contribution University of Manchester oversees the grant and our discoveries will be applied within their experimental system.
Impact No outputs to date.
Start Year 2023