Environmental biotechnology

Study of bacterial oxidation of iron and inorganic sulphur compounds on the cellular and enzymatic level in relation to the activity of acidophilic chemolithotrophic bacteria in hydrometallurgy and environment.

doc. Ing. Martin Mandl, CSc.

Group leader

Martin Mandl studied chemistry in Bratislava finishing his studies with "biochemical technology" specialisation. He joined our department in 1988 and has been one of the leading figures ever since. Martin works on chemolithotrophic microorganisms with a focus on their application in bioleaching. Currently, Martin is the guarantor of the Biotechnology study programme aimed at preparing students for work in the industry.

MUNI | ResearchGate

About Martin Mandl

Contact information:

  • Office – C05/332
  • Phone – 549 49 5728
  • Email – mandl@chemi.muni.cz

Teaching

  • C7872 Applied biostatistics
  • C6211 Biotechnology
  • C8111 Bioengineering
  • CDB a CA Field seminar from biochemistry
  • C9320 Methods of biochemical research
  • C7877 Biotechnology practice

Education

  • 1998 – Associate Professor in Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, MU, "Metabolism of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans in biotechnology and ecology"
  • 1992 – CSc., Faculty of Chemical Technology, STU Bratislava
  • 1978 – Ing., Biochemical Technology, Faculty of Chemical Technology, STU Bratislava

University activities

  • Guarantor of the Master's program Biotechnology
  • Board for studies – Program Board (Bioanalytical Laboratory Diagnostics in Medicine - Bioanalytic, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry)
  • Boards and councils – Electoral and Mandate Committee of the AS MU

Non-university activities

  • Honorary member of the standing committee of the "International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium"
  • Member of the Council of the Czech Biotechnology Society
  • Member of the Czechoslovak Society for Microbiology

Academical internships

  • INRA (France) – 2013, 2015, 2017
  • Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) – 1995
Fig. 1 | Bioleaching of sulfide minerals by acidophilic chemolithotrophic microorganisms (A). Energy metabolism of the model acidophilic chemolithotrophic bacterium Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans in aerobic and anaerobic environments (B).

Research area

Our research objectives are to study chemolithotrophic acidophilic bacteria and their role in the oxidation of sulfide minerals. These bacteria are used in biohydrometallurgy to obtain valuable metals from low-grade ores and concentrate (Fig. 1). The metals are first bio-extracted from the minerals and then separated from the acid leachate, most commonly by electrolysis after extraction with an organic solvent and re-extraction into water. In addition to industrial processes, the spontaneous abiotic and biotic oxidation of sulfide minerals in abandoned mines and mine wastes leads to the formation of sulfuric acid and the mobilization of toxic metals with negative environmental impacts.

In addition to the theoretical study of the biochemical mechanisms of bacterial oxidation of inorganic substrates, our research objectives also concern applied environmental studies in affected areas after conventional mining with imperfect landscape revitalization. We are involved in developing and optimizing innovative energy-saving and environmentally friendly bioleaching processes, such as processes for the recovery of valuable metals from secondary sources - electrical waste and products of urban and industrial waste incineration (ash and slag).

Main research objectives

  • Molecular detection of acidophilic sulfur bacteria
  • Kinetics of bioprocesses
  • Study of bacterial metabolism using omics methods
  • Characterization of enzymes involved in bioleaching
  • Genetic engineering of bioleaching microorganisms
  • Bioleaching of sulfide and other wastes

Group members

Jiří Kučera, Ph.D. lecturer II – MUNI | WOS | RG

PhD students: Martin Gajdošík, Lenka Jurasová
Master’s students: Jakub Svinka, Matěj Masař, Daniel Solčiansky
Bachelor students: Viktor Hankovský
Laboratory assistant: Hedvika Říčánková
PhD graduates: Pavla Češková, Iva Bartáková, Jiří Kučera, Blanka Pokorná-Omesová, Eva Pakostová, Jitka Kašparovská, Šárka Bořilová.

 

International and local cooperation

  • Department of Microbiology, Ohio State University, USA – Olli H. Tuovinen
  • School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, GB – D. Barrie Johnson
  • Laboratory of Microbial Ecophysiology, Fundación Ciencia & Vida, Chile – Raquel Quatrini
  • Institute of Life Sciences, TU Bergakademie, Germany – Sabrina Hedrich
  • Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, BOKU, Austria – Georg Gübitz
  • Centre of Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, Coventry University, GB – Eva Pakostová
  • K1-MET GmbH, Austria
  • Proteomics CEITEC, Masaryk University – Zbyněk Zdráhal
  • Department of Geological Sciences, Masaryk University – Josef Zeman
  • Department of Chemistry, Masaryk University – Tomáš Vaculovič
  • Department of Biochemistry, Masaryk University – Pavel Bouchal a Jan Lochman

Research projects

  • Innovative technology for ash and slag recycling (ATCZ183) Duration: 9/2018–8/2021, EU INTERREG V-A Austria-Czech Republic. The subject of the project is the development and optimization of a bioleaching process that enables innovative, environmental-friendly, and low-energy recovery of metals from secondary raw materials.

An overview of all current and completed projects can be found on the website MUNI.

Recent publications

An overview of all publications can be found on the website MUNI.

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