Worldwide remediation of mercury hazards through biotechnology Acronym

Mercury is a priority pollutant because of its extreme toxicity, global atmospheric transport and accumulation in the food chain. Its removal from current industrial emissions as well as from previously polluted sites is therefore mandatory. A unique biotechnological process for removal of mercury from wastewater based on the enzymatic transformation reactions of live mercury resistant bacteria has been developed at GBF, tested for 8 months at a German chloralkali plant and operated at a Czech chloralkali electrolysis factory in full scale for more than two years. This new technology is proven to be efficient, robust, environmentally friendly and cost effective. The aim of the specific support action BIOMERCURY is to

  • evaluate the applicability of the microbe based technology for clean-up of contaminated environments worldwide;
  • monitor the longterm performance of the first industrial microbe based mercury removal plant,
  • compare costs, safety and efficiency of the biotechnological approach with traditional methods;
  • transfer knowledge into developing countries where the problems are most urgent;
  • exchange information with US agencies.

These goals shall be approached by an international consortium which will first conduct case studies on hot spots of pollution as well as on current mercury emitting industries, taking into account technology offers. On this basis, integrated engineering concepts will be developed. They will be communicated to governments and International Agencies with the aim of implementing demonstration or remediation projects.


Technical University of Braunschweig

University of Southampton


University of Jerusalem

Technical University of Lodz


University of Tirana

Almaty Institute of Power Engineering and Telecommunications

University of Cartagena

Istituto de Ciências do Mar

Rutgers University

University of Florida

US Environmental Protection Agency


Beteiligte Gruppen


Geldgeber / Förderer