Juan has visited us from Spain. He is doing his PhD in the University of Seville (Spain) in the Biohydrometallurgy group studying the reprocessing of sulfidic tailings through hydrometallurgical techniques, such as bioleaching (extraction of metals with the help of microorganisms).
He has spent 12 weeks as a visiting student at the Environmental and Sustainability Institute to study the effect of nutrients on the bioleaching of tailings from the Cobre Las Cruces Mine and to characterise several bioleaching cultures. Juan has used a bioleaching bacterial consortium for his experiments that was obtained from an acid mine drainage in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (southwest Spain) several years ago. He has also extracted DNA from the consortium and from his experiments to determine the microbial composition of the bioleaching community and to ascertain the effect of nutrient addition on such community. During his visit, Juan also learnt how to make plates, specially designed to grow acidophilic iron and sulfur oxidisers.