Metals have a finite supply, thus metal scarcity and supply security have become worldwide issues. We have to ensure that we do not drain important resources by prioritising the desires of the present over the needs of the future. To solve such a global challenge we need to move to a circular, more sustainable economy where we use the resources we have more wisely. One of the founding principles of a circular economy is that waste is an unused feedstock; that organic and inorganic components can be engineered to fit within a materials cycle, by the design, engineering and re-purposing of waste streams. Certain bacteria have the ability to reduce metal cations and form precipitates of zero-valence, pure metals, as part of their survival mechanism to defend against toxic levels of metal cations. Using Synthetic Biology tools and techniques, alongside iterative design, build and test cycles the aim of this research is to enhance, manipulate and standardise the biomanufacture of these nanosize precipitates as high value products. Ultimately producing engineered microbes with the ability to upcycle critical metal ions from waste streams into high value nanoparticles with a range of exciting applications.

Items in this Collection