Dr. Katrin Pollmann
Group Leader Biotechnology

Phone: +49 351 260 - 2946
Fax: +49 351 260 - 3553, -12946

Our Project Flyer:

Innovative Ore Processing by means of Biotechnology - flagship project at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) - flyer title

Biotechnology group

The multifunctional qualities of bacteria: research topics

The research group Biotechnology is developing novel biocomposites by using microbial processes and compounds for topics such as resource technology (“biomining”), nanobiotechnology, biosensors, and (photo-)catalysis.

One major research field of our group is the development of procedures for extracting, treating and recycling metals such as copper or rare earths using microbes. This research has recently started at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology. Natural processes that will be investigated and used for novel bio-based technologies are biosorption, bioleaching, and bioflotation.

Another important topic is nanobiotechnology. The team is using the self-organizing surface layer proteins (S-layers) of bacteria as platform technology for development of bio-inorganic hybrid nanomaterials. The proteins form two-dimensional highly regular arrays and are used for the coating and nanostructuring of surfaces with monolayers. Further, they work as template for the synthesis of diverse nanoparticles of defined size. Goal is the development of novel materials for various applications such as (photo-)catalysis, (multi-)functional coatings, biosensors, and filter materials. These works are based on previous radioecological research investigating the interactions of biocompounds with metals.

Specific tasks of our group are:

  • Development of biotechnological procedures for the extracting, treating and recycling of metals
  • Development of applications for metabolic products, peptides, and self-assembling bacterial proteins
  • Raising of third-party funds
  • Cooperation with partners of research and industry
  • Raising and processing of industrial contracts
  • Publication of results in journals and at conferences
  • Education of young researchers
  • Presentation of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology at public events

Research areas

  • Biomining, Geobiotechnology (Biosorption, Bioleaching, Bioflotation)
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Bio-inorganic hybrid nanomaterials and biocomposites
    - Biosensors
    - (Photo-)catalytic materials

Current projects

Recently finished projects

  • „Investigation of bioleaching of Rare Earth Elements from technical products“ (Dr. Katrin Pollmann, DBU, 2013-2016)
  • „S-Sieve – Mikrosiebe mit hochselektiven S-Layern zur Rückgewinnung von strategisch relevanten Metallen" (Dr. Johannes Raff, AiF, IGF-Vorhaben 490 ZBG, 2013-2015)
  • "Advanced technologies for bacterial cell encapsulation for water treatment" (Joint German-Israeli Water Technology Research Program, BMBF/MOST)“ (Dr. Katrin Pollmann, BMBF/KIT FKZ 02WA1223, 2011-2014)
  • "Aptamer modified bacterial surface structures for the development of novel biosensors (AptaSens)“ (Dr. Katrin Pollmann, BMBF/DLR FKZ 01RB0805A, 2009-2013; research program "BIONA" )
  • "Novel photocatalytic biocomposites for the elimination of pharmaceutical residues (NanoPharm)" (Dr. Johannes Raff, program NanoNature: Nanotechnologien für den Umweltschutz - Nutzen und Auswirkungen BMBF/PTJ FKZ 03X0094G, 2010-2013)
  • „BioBASE - Biochemikalien zur Funktionalisierung von Oberflächen" (Dr. Johannes Raff, Helmholtz Enterprise, 2012-2013)
  • "EXIST-Forschungstransfer Förderphase I BioBASE Chrom(VI)-­freie Kunststoffgalvanik" (Dr. Tobias Günther, BMWi/PtJ, 2013-2015, „Biconex")

Wanted: diploma students and trainees

We are always looking for students of the disciplines biology, chemistry, or material sciences, who are interested in this interdisciplinary research area. Please contact us for further information.


Dr. Katrin Pollmann
Team Leader Biotechnology
Phone: +49 351 260 - 2946
Fax: 12946, 3553