Bioprocesses for sustainable resource management

We harness natural microorganisms to recover resources, degrade contaminants and mitigate harmful environmental impacts, such as acid mine drainage.

The Challenge

Sustainable resource management

With the rapidly expanding urban population worldwide, the demand for water, energy, food and mineral resources will continue to increase.

In hand with this growth, contamination of human-impacted environments, waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions will also increase, while arable land fertility will deteriorate. Practical and reliable environmental technologies, which can maximise the recovery of resources with minimal energy usage and environmental impact, will be critical for sustainable resource management.

Microorganisms and bioprocesses can cause a number of problems, such as pathogen outbreaks, biofouling, bio-clogging and biocorrosion, which can impact productivity and cause environmental or public health risks.

However, they also offer the potential to deal with some of these challenges. Understanding the organisms and processes is the key to developing the technologies necessary to harness microorganisms for urban, industrial and environmental applications.

Our Response

Innovative biologically based technologies

We're working with industry and universities to develop biotechnological processes and environmental engineering approaches for mining, energy, water supply, waste and wastewater treatment and other related areas.

This includes processes to recover value (e.g. water, energy, metals, nutrients) from low grade resources and wastes, treatment of urban and industrial effluents and remediation of sites contaminated with organic and inorganic pollutants.

Our science also increases the understanding of microbially induced problems and helps to develop rapid detection, monitoring and control strategies.


Our team runs microbiology, molecular biology and biotechnology laboratories with Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service accreditation.

We also deploy a range of field equipment and perform research directly on industry and water agency infrastructure, such as water production bores, water distribution networks and industrial water treatment plants.

Key research areas

  • Mining biotechnology
  • Waste/wastewater treatment and resource recovery
  • Bioremediation of contaminated sites
  • Water treatment and distribution microbiology.

Case studies


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