The main work of this research team is the development of simple, efficient, and economically attractive bioremediation technologies, based on the use of bacteria, for the treatment of metals bearing wastewaters.


Teaching activities



A. P. Paiva, G. I. Carvalho, M. C. Costa, A. M. Rosa da Costa, C. Nogueira, “Recovery of platinum and palladium from chloride solutions by a thiodiglycolamide derivative”, Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, 6 (31) (2013). Accepted.

 J. P. Costa, A. V. Girão, J. P. Lourenço, O. C. Monteiro, T. Trindade, M. C. Costa, "Green synthesis of covellite nanocrystals using biologically generated sulfide: Potential for bioremediation systems”, Journal of Environmental Management, 128 (2013) 226-232.

 M. Martins; A. Assunção; H. Martins, A. P. Matos, M. C. Costa, Palladium recovery as nanoparticles by an anaerobic bacterial community, Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 66 (11) (2013) 2039-2044..

 M. C. Costa, A. Assunção, A. M. Rosa da Costa, C. Nogueira, A. P. Paiva, “Liquid-liquid extraction of platinum from chloride media by N,N’-Dimethyl-N,N’-Dicyclohexyltetradecylmalonamide”, Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, 31 (2013) 12-23.

J. Castillo, R. Pérez-López, M. A. Caraballo, J. M. Nieto, M. Martins, M. C. Costa, M. Olías, J. C. Cerón, R. Tucoulou, “Biologically-induced precipitation of sphalerite–wurtzite nanoparticles by sulfate-reducing bacteria: Implications for acid mine drainage treatment”, Science of the Total Environment, 423 (2012) 176–184.  

J. P. Costa, A. V. Girão, J. P. Lourenço, O. C. Monteiro, T. Trindade, M. C. Costa, "Synthesis of nanocrystalline ZnS using biologically generated sulfide", Hydrometallurgy, 117–118 (2012) 57-63.

M. Martins, R. Taborda, G. Silva, A. Assunção, A. P. Matos, M. C. Costa, "Aluminum and sulphate removal by a highly Al-resistant dissimilatory sulphate-reducing bacteria community", Biodegradation, 23(5) (2012) 693-703.

A. Assunção, M. Martins, G. Silva, H. Lucas, M. R. Coelho, M. C. Costa, “Bromate removal by anaerobic bacterial community: mechanism and phylogenetic characterization”, Journal of Hazardous Materials 197 (2011) 237–243.

M. Martins, E. S. Santos, M. L. Faleiro, S. Chaves, R. Tenreiro, R. Barros, A. Barreiros, M. C. Costa, “Performance and bacterial community shifts during bioremediation of acid mine drainage from two Portuguese mines”, International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 65 (7) (2011) 972-981.

G. Bekmirzaev, J. Beltrão, M. A. Neves, C. Costa, “Climate changes effects on the potential capacity of salt removing species”, International Journal of Geology 3(5) (2011) 79-85.

M. Alexandrino, F. Macías, R. Costa, N. C. M. Gomes, A. V. M. Canário, M. C. Costa,A bacterial consortium isolated from an Icelandic fumarole displays exceptionally high levels of sulfate reduction and metals resistance”, Journal of Hazardous Materials 187 (2011) 362-370.

M. Martins, M. L. Faleiro, G. Silva, S. Chaves, R. Tenreiro, M. C. Costa, "Dynamics of bacterial community in up-flow anaerobic packed bed system for acid mine drainage treatment using wine wastes as carbon source", International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 65 (2011) 78-84.

M. Martins, M. L. Faleiro, A. R. Costa, S. Chaves, R. Tenreiro, A. P. Matos, M. C. Costa, “Mechanism of uranium (VI) removal by two anaerobic bacterial communities”, Journal of Hazardous Materials 184 (2010) 89–96.

M. Martins, M. L. Faleiro, S. Chaves, R. Tenreiro, M. C. Costa, “Effect of uranium (VI) on two sulphate-reducing bacteria cultures from a uranium mine site”, Science of the Total Environment 408 (2010) 2621–2628.

M. Martins, M. L. Faleiro, S. Chaves, R. Tenreiro, E. S. Santos, M. C. Costa, “Anaerobic bio-removal of uranium (VI) and chromium (VI): Comparison of microbial community structure”, Journal of Hazardous Materials 176 (2010) 1065-1072.

M. Martins, E. S. Santos, C. Pires, R. J. Barros, M. C. Costa, “Production of irrigation water from bioremediation of acid mine drainage: comparing the performance of two representative systems”, Journal of Cleaner Production 18 (2010) 248–253.

M. C. Costa, E. S. Santos, R. J. Barros, C. Pires, M. Martins, “Wine wastes as carbon source for biological treatment of acid mine drainage”, Chemosphere 75 (2009) 831-836.

M. Martins, L. Faleiro, R. J. Barros, A. R. Veríssimo, M. C. Costa, “Biological sulphate reduction using wastes from the winery and cheese industries as carbon sources”, Biodegradation 20 (4) (2009) 559-567.

R. J. Barros, C. Jesus, M. Martins, M. C. Costa, “Marble stone processing powder residue as chemical adjuvant for the biologic treatment of acid mine drainage”, P. Biochemistry 44 (2009) 477-480.

M. Martins, M. L. Faleiro, R. J. Barros, A. R. Veríssimo, M. A. Barreiros, M. C. Costa, “Characterization and activity studies of highly heavy metal resistant sulphate-reducing bacteria to be used in acid mine drainage treatment”, J. Haz. Mat. 166 (2009) 706-713.

M. C. Costa, M. Martins, C. Jesus, J. C. Duarte, “Treatment of acid mine drainage by sulphate-reducing bacteria using low cost matrices”, Water Air and Soil Pollution, 189 (2008) 149-162.

M. C. Costa, I. Pêczek, Z. Sadowski, S. Natu, A. P. Paiva, "The solvent extraction of Iron(III) from chloride solutions by N,N’-tetrasubstituted malonamides: structure-activity relationships", Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, 25 (2007) 463-483.

M. C. Costa, J. C. Duarte, "Bioremediation of acid mine drainage using acidic soil and organic wastes for promoting sulphate-reducing bacteria activity on a column reactor", Water, Soil and Air Pollution, 165 (1-4) (2005) 325-345.

A. P. Paiva, M. C. Costa, “Application of N,N`-tetrasubstituted malonamides to the recovery of iron (III) from chloride solutions”, Hydrometallurgy, 77 (1-2) (2005) 103-108.

M. C. Costa, M. Martins, A. P. Paiva, “Solvent extraction of iron (III) from chloride acid media using N,N’-dimethyl-N,N’-dibutylmalonamide”, Separation Science and Technology, 39 (15) (2004) 3573-3599.

M. C. Costa, N. Carvalho, A. Uryga, A. P. Paiva, “Solvent extraction of iron (III) from hydrochloric acid solutions using N,N’-dimethyl-N,N’-diphenyltetradecylmalonamide”, Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, 21 (5) (2003) 653-686.

M. C. Costa, A. M. Botelho do Rego, L. M. Abrantes, “Characterization of a natural and an electro-oxidized arsenopyrite: a study on electrochemical and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy”, International Journal of Mineral Processing, 65 (2002) 83-108.

L. M. Abrantes, M. C. Costa, "Electro-oxidation as a pre-treatment to enhance the recovery of gold", Hydrometallurgy, 40 (1996) 99-110.



Ecotechnologies based on sulfate-reducing bacteria and its application to the treatment of acid mine drainage (POCI/AMB/58512/2004).
Principal investigator: Maria Clara Costa
Institution: University of the Algarve
Partners: INETI - Department of Biochemistry, Unity of Monitor and Eco-toxicity

With this project it is aimed to develop a simple, efficient and economically attractive technology, based on the capabilities of SRB`s and on the utilization of natural and locally available substrates (which also needed to be subjected to treatment) for the decontamination of  acid mine drainage .(AMD).

Such will be a sustainable, integrated and low cost technology that can be designated as eco-technology. In this case, these eco-technologies use the ability of SBB`s to utilise sulphate as electron acceptor. The sulphide generated in the presence of metals leads to the formation of very insoluble metal sulphides and therefore, both metals and sulphates can be eliminated simultaneously. In addition to the generation of sulphide, the production of CO2 and carbonates allows the neutralization of the AMD, which have usually pH values close to 2.

The process under development is based on the design of natural systems, where the natural phenomena of depuration are simulated. Several carbon and energy sources, easily and locally available at cost zero or even at negative cost, are being tested. The ecology and physiology of these systems will be studied as a function of the substrate utilised. The study of the ecosystems established in those eco-reactors has the objective of isolating and characterise bacterial populations particularly resistant to the presence of high metal contents and thus, very useful to the treatment of highly contaminated AMD.
With this eco-thecnology it is expected to develop a process able to neutralise the AMD acidity, to reduce their sulphate content and to eliminate the heavy metals, in order to obtain an effluent with concentration values below to those admitted for the discharge of residual water, or even lower to those allowed for irrigation waters.
The isolation of new SRB with metal tolerant genes, and thus highly specific, is also previewed.

Eventually, the technology under development in this project can further be applied to the treatment of industrial effluents contaminated with heavy metals and/or sulphates and/or with high acidity.



Geochemistry and remediation of abandoned mines and surrounding areas (POCI/AMB/60257/2004).
Principal investigator: António José Candeias
Institution: University of Évora 
Partners: University of the Algarve
Responsible: Maria Clara Costa




             Proposals of laboratorial training in the following areas:

          Microbiology and Genetics

          · Search for anaerobic bacteria with bioremediation potential and their microbiological and genetic characterization


          · Development and optimization of bioreactors for the treatment of metals contaminated waters or effluents


PhD or post-doc proposals

          · Biological production on nanomaterials

          · Genetic profile of bacterial populations used in bioremediation processes



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