Recovery of critical metals using biometallurgy. Academic Article uri icon


  • The increased development of green low-carbon energy technologies that require platinum group metals (PGMs) and rare earth elements (REEs), together with the geopolitical challenges to sourcing these metals, has spawned major governmental and industrial efforts to rectify current supply insecurities. As a result of the increasing critical importance of PGMs and REEs, environmentally sustainable approaches to recover these metals from primary ores and secondary streams are needed. In this review, we define the sources and waste streams from which PGMs and REEs can potentially be sustainably recovered using microorganisms, and discuss the metal-microbe interactions most likely to form the basis of different environmentally friendly recovery processes. Finally, we highlight the research needed to address challenges to applying the necessary microbiology for metal recovery given the physical and chemical complexities of specific streams.

published proceedings

  • Curr Opin Biotechnol

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhuang, W., Fitts, J. P., Ajo-Franklin, C. M., Maes, S., Alvarez-Cohen, L., & Hennebel, T.

citation count

  • 150

complete list of authors

  • Zhuang, Wei-Qin||Fitts, Jeffrey P||Ajo-Franklin, Caroline M||Maes, Synthia||Alvarez-Cohen, Lisa||Hennebel, Tom

publication date

  • June 2015