Department of Mineral Biotechnologies
Head of the department: MVDr. Daniel Kupka, PhD.
Research in the department is focused on the biogeochemistry, geomicrobiology and environmental biotechnology.
Research in biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology is focused on the investigation of:
- biogeochemical processes in the upper part of the Earth geosphere in connection with mineral weathering and global cycle of the elements,
- microbial interactions with inorganic and organic components of the rock environment in the mineral transformation processes in mineral deposits and mine and industrial waste repositories,
- paragenesis of secondary mineral structures,
- biodegradation of natural and synthetic materials,
- biodiversity of various natural matrices (soil, water, sediments).
Research in the field of environmental biotechnology is focused on the development and application of biotechnology methods for:
- mineral processing and waste recycling,
- improving the quality of raw materials for ceramic and glass industry,
- remediation of old environmental burdens and sites contaminated by antropogenic activities,
- synthesis of advanced (bio)materials and bio-composites for selective recovery of usable components from solid and liquid municipal and industrial wastes,
- prediction and prevention of bio-corrosion of construction composite materials.
Research program in the field of mineral biotechnologies at the Institute of Geotechnics SAS was founded by Prof. Dr.h.c. Ing. František Špaldon, DrSc. in 1985. In 1992, a detached Department of Mineral Biotechnologies was established and led by assoc. prof. Ing. Mária Kušnierová, PhD. The department currently employs a group of experts in various fields of this interdisciplinary research.
Bioleaching & Metal Mobilization
- dissolution of minerals by bacterial oxidation of iron and/or reduced inorganic sulfur compounds (RISC),
- bacterial reductive dissolution of iron oxides,
- liberation of iron impurities from nonmetallic by bacterial by-products.
Biocorrosion & Biodeterioration of Synthetic and Industrial Materials
- bio corrosion of building composite materials,
- bio-deterioration of underground storage structures.
Bioremediation of Mine and Industrial Waste Effluents
- biodegradation, biosorption, bioprecipitation, biovolatilization,
- bacterial dissimilatory reduction of iron, sulphate, nitrate, (per)chlorate,
- ion exchange,
- advanced oxidation processes (AOPs),
- toxicity and biodegradability assessment (respirometric methods).
Degradation of Organic Pollutants in Waters and Soils
- biodegradation of organic pollutants in soils, groundwaters and wastewaters,
- contaminant-specific monitoring of the degradation based on the extraction of the analyte from the matrix before analysis,
- contaminant-non-specific monitoring of organic matter mineralization based on oxygen and carbon dioxide gas analysis (respirometric methods).
- UHPLC liquid chromatography Dionex Ultimate 3000 with DAD detector and tandem mass spectrometry Q-TOF (micrOTOF-Q II™ Bruker Daltonics),
- two-channel ion chromatography Dionex ICS 5000 for parallel separation and analysis of anions, cations and low molecular compounds,
- fluorescence microscopy LEICA DM 6000,
- GC-MS Gas chromatography Agilent 7890A with mass spectrometry Agilent 5975C,
- inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry ICP-MS Agilent 7700,
- TOC/TNb analyzer Vario TOC Cube Elementar Analysensysteme GmbH,
- Beckman Coulter ® Multisizer IV. Analyzer of particle size, volume and number distribution,
- surface area and pore size distribution analyzer Quantachrome NOVA e 1200,
- water polishing system Elga-PureLab-Option + Elga PureLab-Ultra for preparation of 18.2 MΩ ultra-pure water,
- microfluidic chip bio analyzer Agilent Bioanalyzer 2100 for the electrophoretic analysis of DNA, RNA, and proteins,
- real-time PCR (Q-PCR) systém Light Cycler 2.0 Roche,
- BBL Crystal bacterial identification system, Becton-Dickinson,
- paramagnetic oxygen analyzer by Sable Systems,
- carbon dioxide analyzer with IR sensor Sable Systems,
- 8-channel gas multiplexer RM-8 Sable Systems,
- respirometric equipment for the measurements of metabolic activity based on flow through gas analysis,
- vibratory sieve shaker AS 200 RETSCH, mesh size of sieves 2 mm, 1 mm, 800 μm, 600 μm, 400 μm, 250 μm, 100 μm, 63 μm, 40 μm,
- sample splitters RT 6.5 RETSCH,
- titration workstations TitraLab®854, radiometer analytical,
- rotary vacuum evaporator INGOS,
- high-temperature laboratory furnace VP 02/16 with a programmable temperature controller for heat treatment of the samples to a temperature of 1600°C.