“Click chemistry” reaction catalysed by microbially synthesised copper nanoparticles

Housed in the Williamson Research Centre for the Molecular Environmental Science, we combine the techniques of microbiology and molecular biology with physical, chemical and modelling approaches to understand the role that microorganisms play or have played in key geological processes. Fundamental work aims to identify the biogeochemical controls on mineral cycles in a range of environments; including the iron and sulfur cycles, as well as those of toxic metals including arsenic, chromium, technetium, and transuranics.

This work is facilitated by excellent infrastructure to study the biological, mineralogical and geochemical components of such cycles at a molecular scale. Also under investigation are innovative approaches that can be used to guide natural biogeochemical cycles to drive the remediation of land and water contaminated by metals, radionuclides and toxic organics. 

The development of novel “nanotechnologies” adapted from natural processes, for example the biosynthesis of nano-scale catalysts, quantum dots and magnetic materials, has also been a core interest for more than a decade, and is being extended to make maximal use of advances in synthetic biology.  Finally, we work closely with partners in the nuclear industry to understand better the impact of microbial processes on many aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.

For more information, visit our research group blog at

Recent major publications

  1. Kimber et al (2018) Biosynthesis and Characterization of Copper Nanoparticles Using Shewanella oneidensis: Application for Click Chemistry. Small In Press
  2. Watts, MP, VS Coker, S Parry, R Thomas, R Kalin & JR Lloyd (2015) Effective treatment of alkaline Cr(VI) contaminated leachate using a novel Pd-bionanocatalyst; impact of electron donor and aqueous geochemistry. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental 170, 162-172 DOI:10.1016/j.apcatb.2015.01.017
  3. Bassil, N.J., Bryan, N. and Lloyd,J.R. (2014) Microbial degradation of isosaccharinic acid at high pH. ISME Journal DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2014.125
  4. Newsome, L., Morris, K. and Lloyd, J.R. (2014)  The biogeochemistry and bioremediation of uranium and other priority radionuclides. Chemical Geology.   363 164–184  DOI:
  5. Islam, F.S., Gault,A.G., Boothman, C.,  Polya, D.A., Charnock, J.M., Chatterjee, D. and Lloyd, J.R.(2004)  Role of metal-reducing bacteria in arsenic release from Bengal Delta sediments. Nature 430 68-71

Key academics

Prof Jon Lloyd

Prof Kath Morris

Prof Sam Shaw

Dr Vicky Coker

Dr Bart van Dongen

Prof David Polya

Dr Clare Robinson

Dr Laura Richards

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