University of Dundee

Professor Geoff Gadd FSB FLS FLSW FRSE

Geomicrobiology, Geomycology and Bioremediation
Boyd Baxter Chair of Biology
School of Life Sciences,, University of Dundee,, Dundee
Full Telephone: 
+44 (0) 1382 384767, int ext 84767


Microorganisms are intimately involved in the biogeochemical processes underpinning metal and mineral transformations in the environment, as well as the cycling of related substances like organometals, metalloids and radionuclides. A variety of processes determine metal and radionuclide mobility and bioavailability and these influence transfer to other environmental components and other living organisms including plants and humans. These processes are also intimately associated with such global phenomena as bioweathering, soil formation, and the biodeterioration of rocks, minerals, metals and building materials. As well as being of environmental significance, microbial metal transformations are relevant to plant productivity and human health, with application to the treatment of pollution (bioremediation). For bioremediation, solubilization of metal contaminants provides a means of removal from soils, sediments, and solid industrial wastes. Alternatively, immobilization processes may enable metals or radionuclides to be transformed in situ and are applicable to removing metals from aqueous solution.


In the Geomicrobiology Group, we carry out research on the geoactive properties of microorganisms in order to understand their importance in key biosphere processes and their applied potential. The prime focus is on metal-mineral transformations with most research under the heading of geomycology, the roles of fungi as geoactive agents. We are particularly interested in understanding physiological and morphological responses to toxic metals and mineral substrates, mechanisms of mineral dissolution, and the formation of novel mycogenic biominerals, especially carbonates, phosphates, oxides and oxalates. Research of applied significance that builds on our fundamental research includes the application of metal-mineral-microbe transformations for bioremediation of metals, metalloids and radionuclides, nuclear decommissioning, biofertilizers (phosphate release), and the production of mineral-based biomaterials. We are also interested in the biodeterioration of rock and mineral-based structural materials including concrete and cultural artefacts, as well as biocorrosion of metals. Research on the functional consequences and mathematical modelling of fungal growth in heterogeneous environments is carried out in collaboration with Dr Fordyce Davidson, Division of Mathematics.


  1. Li, Q., Liu, D., Jia, Z., Csetenyi, L. and Gadd, G.M. (2016). Fungal biomineralization of manganese as a novel source of electrochemical materials. Current Biology 26: 950-955.
  2. Liang, X., Hillier, S., Pendlowski, H., Gray, N., Ceci, A. and Gadd, G.M. (2015). Uranium phosphate biomineralization by fungi. Environmental Microbiology 17, 2064-2075.
  3. Rhee, Y.J., Hillier, S., Pendlowski, H. and Gadd, G.M. (2014). Pyromorphite formation in a fungal biofilm community growing on lead metal. Environmental Microbiology 16, 1441–1451.
  4. Li, Q., Csetenyi,L. and Gadd, G.M. (2014). Biomineralization of metal carbonates by Neurospora crassa. Environmental Science and Technology 48, 14409-14416.
  5. Gadd, G. M., Bahri-Esfahani, J., Li, Q., Rhee, Y.J., Wei, Z., 1, Fomina, M., Liang, X. (2014). Oxalate production by fungi: significance in geomycology, biodeterioration and bioremediation. Fungal Biology Reviews 28, 36–55.
  6. Pinzari, F., Tate, J., Bicchieri, M., Rhee, Y.J., and Gadd, G.M. (2013). Biodegradation of ivory (natural apatite): possible involvement of fungal activity in biodeterioration of the Lewis Chessmen. Environmental Microbiology 15, 1050–1062.
  7. Wei, Z., Liang, X., Pendlowski, H., Hillier, S., Suntornvongsagul, K., Sihanonth, P. and Gadd, G.M. (2013). Fungal biotransformation of zinc silicate and sulfide mineral ores. Environmental Microbiology 15, 2173-86.
  8. Kangwankraiphaisan, T., Suntornvongsagul, K., Sihanonth, P., Klysubun, W. and Gadd, G.M. (2013).  Influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on zinc biogeochemistry in the rhizosphere of Lindenbergia philippensis growing in zinc-contaminated sediment. Biometals 26, 489–505.
  9. Wei, Z., Hillier, S. and Gadd, G.M. (2012). Biotransformation of manganese oxides by fungi: solubilization and production of manganese oxalate biominerals. Environmental Microbiology 14: 1744-1753.
  10. Rhee, Y.J., Hillier, S., and Gadd, G.M. (2012). Lead transformation to pyromorphite by fungi. Current Biology 22: 237-241.
  11. Gadd, G.M. (2010). Metals, minerals and microbes: geomicrobiology and bioremediation. Microbiology 156: 609 – 643.
  12.  Fomina, M., Charnock, J.M., Hillier, S., Alvarez, R., Francis Livens, F. and Gadd, G.M.  (2008). Role of fungi in the biogeochemical fate of depleted uranium. Current Biology  18: 375-377.