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Dr Frank Reith

Telephone +61 8 8313 8469
Position Australian Research Fellow
Fax +61 8 8313 8550
Building Taylor Building
Floor/Room 3 306
Campus Waite
Org Unit Earth Sciences

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2002-06 PhD. in Quaternary and Regolith Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra. Thesis: The Geomicrobiology of gold - Interaction of bacteria with gold in Australian soils and deeper regolith materials.

1996-99 Master of Science by research (50 %) and coursework (50 %), Ecological Microbiology and Geoecology, University of Bayreuth, Germany. Thesis: Anaerobic activities and anaerobic microbial populations in leaf and conifer litter from two adjacent sites in central eastern Germany.

1996-99 Bachelor of Economics, University of Bayreuth, Germany.

1993-96 Bachelor of Science, Geoecology, University of Bayreuth, Germany.


Selected Publications:

Wakelin SA, Anand RR, Reith F, Gregg AL, Noble RRP, Goldfarb KC, et al. (2012a) Bacterial communities associated with a mineral weathering profile at a sulphidic mine tailings dump in arid Western Australia. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 79: 298-311.

Wakelin SA, Anand RR, Reith F, Macfarlane C, Rogers S. (2012b). Biogeochemical surface expression over a deep, overburden-covered VMS mineralization. J Geochem Explor. 112: 262-271.

Reith, F., Etschmann, B., Dart, R., Brewe, D.L., Vogt, S., Schmidt Mumm, A., and Brugger, J., 2011, Distribution and speciation of gold in biogenic and abiogenic calcium carbonates – Implications for the formation of gold anomalous calcrete: Geochimica Cosmochima Acta, v. 75, p. 1942-1956.

Reith F, Fairbrother L, Nolze G, Wilhelm O, Clode PL, Gregg A, et al. (2010). Nanoparticle factories: Biofilms hold the key to gold dispersion and nugget formation. Geol 38: 843-846.

Reith F, Etschmann B, Grosse C, Moors H, Benotmane MA, Monsieurs P, et al. (2009). Mechanisms of gold biomineralization in the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106, 17757-17762.

Fairbrother L., Shapter J., Pring A., Southam G., Brugger J., Reith F. (2009, in press) Effect of the cyanide-producing bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum on ultraflat gold surfaces. Chemical Geology.

Brugger J., Pring A., Ryan C., Reith F., Etschmann B., Liu W., O’Neill B., Ngothai Y. (2009, in press) Probing ore deposits formation: new insights and challenges from synchrotron and neutron studies. Radiation Physics and Chemistry.

Reith F, Wakelin S., Gregg, A.L. Schmidt Mumm A. (2009) A microbial pathway for the formation of gold anomalous calcrete. Chemical Geology 258, 315-326.

Reith F., Rogers S.L. (2008) Assessment of bacterial communities in auriferous and non-auriferous soils using genetic and functional fingerprinting. Geomicrobiology J. 25, 203-215.

Reith F, Rogers SL. (2008). Assessment of bacterial communities in auriferous and non-auriferous soils using genetic and functional fingerprinting. Geomicrobiol J 25: 203-215.

Reith F., Lengke M.F.,Falconer D., Craw D., Southam G. (2007) WINOGRADSKY REVIEW - The geomicrobiology of gold. The ISME Journal (2007) 1, 567-584.

Reith F, McPhail DC (2007). Microbial influences on solubilisation and mobility of gold and arsenic in regolith samples from two gold mines in semi-arid and tropical Australia. Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta 71, 1183-1196.

Reith, F., Rogers S.L., 2007. Exploration Geomicrobiology - The New Frontier. In: Colin Dunn Ed., Handbook of Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry 9: Biogeochemistry in Mineral Exploration . Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 393-413.

Schmidt Mumm, A., Reith, F., 2007. Calcrete Genesis at the gold anomaly of the Barns prospect, Gawler Craton, South Australia. The Journal of Geochemical Exploration 92, 13-33.

Reith, F., Webb, D., Rogers S.L., McPhail, D.C. 2006. Biomineralization of Gold: Biofilms on bacterioform gold. Science 313, 233-236.

Reith F., Rogers S.L. Schmidt Mumm, A. 2006. Exploration geomicrobiology - The new frontier. In: R.W. Fitzpatrick and P. Shand Eds., Regolith 2006, CRC LEME, 291-295.

Reith, F., McPhail, D.C. (2006) Effect of resident microbiota on the solubilization of gold in soils from the Tomakin Park Gold Mine, New South Wales, Australia, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70, 1421-1438.

Reith, F., McPhail, D.C., Christy, A.G. (2005) Bacillus cereus, gold and associated elements in soil and regolith samples from Tomakin Park Gold Mine in south-eastern New South Wales, Journal of Geochemical Exploration 85, 81-89.

Reith, F, Rogers, S.L., 2004. Gold flakes and the art of molecular bioscience. In: Roach, I.C. Ed., Regolith 2004, CRC LEME, 291-295.

Reith, F., Drake, H.L., Kuesel, K., 2002. Anaerobic activities of bacteria and fungi in moderately acidic conifer and deciduous leaf litter. FEMS Microbial Ecology 41, 27-35.



Professional Interests


Molecular Microbial Ecology

Environmental and Biogeochemistry

Geochemistry of Gold

Synchrotron applications to the characterisation of noble metals in cells and secondary minerals

Community Engagement

MEDIA EXPOSURE (selection):

Bacteria Have the Midas Touch, Iran Daily, 20.7.2006.

Tip for Gold Prospectors: Follow the Bacteria, Henry Fountain for The New York Times, 18.7.2006.

Bakterien machen Gold zu Nuggets, Der Spiegel Online, 14.7.2006.

Bakterien produzieren mit ihrem Stoffwechsel Gold, Die Welt, 14.7.2006.

Thar's gold in them thar microbes, CNN Online, 13.7.2006.

Goldsucher: Bacterien und Pilze (in German) by Rolf H. Latusseck for Welt am Sonntag, 25.7.2004.

A corrida do ouro (in Portugese), by Adriana Kuechler for Superinteressante, April 2004

Gold strike: scientist discovers that bacteria and fungi build nuggets, by Richard Macey for the Sydney Morning Herald, 28.1.2004, p. 3.

Bugs can bring a golden harvest, by Brandan O Malley for the Courier Mail, Brisbane, 28.1.2004.

Minute master builders get gold into shape, by Emma Young for New Scientist Magazine, 14.2.2004, p. 13.

Radio-Interviews:ABC Gippsland 16.7.2006
ABC Victoria 17.7.2006
ABC Radio National in The World Today 27.1.2004.
ABC local stations in Ballarat, Rockhampton, Cairns 28.-31.1.2004
Eastside Radio (Sydney), in Talking Science, Feb. 2004.


Entry last updated: Friday, 16 Jan 2015

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