ANU Virumediation

Creating a modular bacteriophage-based bioaccumulation platform for remediation of heavy metals

An Economic, Environmental, and Social
Heavy-metal pollution from mining and industrial sites has an important ecological impact on biodiversity, causing detrimental health effects to both humans and animals.
Heavy metal pollution is an
extensive problem that causes

worth of damage worldwide
of heavy metals are released into the environment globally
It is of particular importance in Australia as 60% of Australian mines are in close proximity to indigenous communities

Current remediation techniques are
Current physical techniques such as barriers aim to confine polluted areas but are costly and ruin the environment
Current chemical techniques typically require reapplication over the years and produces waste products that are hazardous themselves

We have designed a system of metal sequestering compartments that can be delivered into native soil bacteria by bacteriophages. Our bacteriophages have been engineered to deliver heavy-metal binding proteins (MBPs) localised to encapsulin-nanocompartments; these proteins can capture and sequester heavy metals in the environment.