Extraction and recovery of metals with biotechnological processes

Bioleaching processes use bacteria to mobilize metals from spoil heaps or waste.

At Fraunhofer IGB, however, the focus is on the extraction of dissolved metals by biological processes such as biosorption (adsorption to microorganisms or biological materials), bioaccumulation (uptake and storage of metals in cells) or bioprecipitation (precipitation of metals by the activity of microorganisms).

Reference projects

Recovery of metals – Molecular Sorting


The aim of recycling materials as secondary raw materials is the efficient provision in original raw material quality. For industrial implementation, it is not enough to provide only individual process stages.

Fraunhofer lighthouse project "Criticality of rare earths" – Securing our raw material supply

Building on the successful results of the Fraunhofer project "Molecular Sorting", in which the separation of ions with identical net charge was demonstrated, the FFE process is being further developed within the Fraunhofer lighthouse project "Criticality of Rare Earths".

Besides the separation of rare earths, FFE can also be used to separate biogenic materials such as proteins or enzymes.

Duration: November 2013 – November 2017