Heavy metals continue to constitute a global environmental hazard, with no affordable solutions for their removal to an acceptable concentration. There are multiple benefits that can be gained from the development of cyclic peptides in the laboratory that mimic plants that bio-remediate heavy metal-contaminated mining sites.


Establish a methodology to create cyclic peptides in the laboratory that can be complexed with diverse metals present in tailings in order to establish applicability in the field of recovering metals from contaminated soils in a self sustainable manner.


In-silico molecular simulations (assisted by Dr Gustavo Arteca) determined the optimal theoretical length and circular size of the cyclic peptide, complexed to a given metal. With successful proof of principle, the synthetic reproduction of cyclic peptides for diverse metals has the potential to become a secondary process for extracting or remediating metals from tailings. This provides an opportunity to extract more value from tailings waste and end up with a smaller environmental footprint (ie. reduce the potential of metal leaking into local aquifiers; reduction of metal contamination in mining areas and beyond) than we currently have.


  • Gerardo Ulibarri, Laurentian University
  • 1-705-675-1151 x 2107

Solution team

  • Douglas Morrison, CEMI
  • Gustavo Arteca, Laurentian University
  • Caterina Noula-Millar, (PhD), Laurentian University
  • Wafa Aldarini (MSc), Laurentian University
  • Azizah Al-Radhwan (MSc), Laurentian University