Dr Frank Reith

Dr Frank Reith
 Position ARC Future Fellow
 Org Unit School of Biological Sciences
 Email frank.reith@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 8469
 Location Floor/Room 2 ,  Taylor (CSIRO) ,   Waite
  • Biography/ Background

    Frank Reith obtained a PhD in 2006 from the Australian National University, Australia, for his pioneering work on the geomicrobiology of gold. From 2007 to 2015 he was an ARC Research Fellow at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide. In March 2015 he was appointed as senior lecturer in The School of Biological Sciences. Since 2004 his laboratory is co-located in CSIRO Land and Water at the Waite Research Institute. He is a member of the Environment Insitute (EI), The Sprigg Geobiology Centre and the Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources (IMER) at the University of Adelaide. His research aims to understanding the interactions of microorganisms and trace metals in surface environments. He is leading multidisciplinary research projects aimed at uncovering the fundamental mechanisms of geobiological and geochemical cycling of gold and other heavy/noble metals in surface environments

    Office phone: +61 8 8303 8469


    Further information can be found on his blog:




  • Qualifications


    • 2015 –  present Senior Lecturer (Level-C) in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide.
    • 2007 – present Visiting researcher at CSIRO Land and Water, Program 2, Environmental Contaminant Mitigation and Technologies, Waite Laboratories, Adelaide, Australia.
    • 2007 – present Visiting Academic at South Australian Museum, as part of the Mineralogy, previously (2007-2014) Minerals, Microbes and Solutions group co-headed by Pring, Brugger and Reith.
    • 2010 – 2015  ARC – Australian Research Fellowship, “Geomicrobiology of Platinum Group Elements”, held at The University of Adelaide (geology and Geophysics) and CSIRO Land and Water, Australia.
    • 2007 – 10  ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (Industry, APDI), ‘Geomicrobiology of Gold’, held at The University of Adelaide, Australia.
    • 2005 – 07 CSIRO-Postdoctoral Research Fellow held at CSIRO Exploration and Mining and CSIRO Land and Water ‘Geomicrobiology of base metal and gold deposits in semi arid and arid Australia’, Waite Laboratories, Adelaide, Australia.
    • 2001 Visiting Researcher at the RSES Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia.


    • 2006 Ph.D. in Quaternary and Regolith Sciences, Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
    • 1999 M.Sc. by research (50 %) and coursework (50 %), Ecological Microbiology and Geo-ecology, The University of Bayreuth, Germany.
    • 1999 B.B.A., Marketing and Economics, The University of Bayreuth, Germany.
    • 1996 B.Sc., Geoecology, The University of Bayreuth, Germany

  • Awards & Achievements

    • 2014 Keynote address: From little things big things grow – what about gold nuggets? Australian Earth Science Convention, Newcastle, Australia.
    • 2013 Invited speaker: Biogeochemical cycling of Au and Pt – Integrating field Studies, micro-analyses and molecular biology’; Goldschmidt Conference, Florence, Italy.
    • 2011 Keynote address: The Geomicrobiology of Gold: Fundamental processes to industrial applications; Goldschmidt Conference, Prague, Czech Republic.
    • 2006 CRC LEME Award for contributions to the regolith geosciences from 2001 to 2006
    • 2006 Robert Hill Memorial Prize given out by the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University for outstanding postgraduate research and research communication.
    • 2004 Bicentennial Gold Endowment88/2004, awarded by the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, AUSIMM, for research into the “Geomicrobiology of Gold”.
    • 2003 Taylor & Eggleton Award for overall excellence at the CRC LEME REGOLITH Conference 2003.
    • 2002 – 06 Australian Government International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS): covering the tuition fees for international students at ANU.
    • 2002 – 05 ANU Ph.D.-Scholarship: Suppling a living allowance during the Ph.D. project
    • 2002 – 05 CRC LEME Ph.D.-Scholarship: Suppling a top-up of the ANU Ph.D. scholarships.

  • Teaching Interests

    As a geomicrobiologist, geochemist and geoecologist I am used to studying processes from different perspectives, i.e., from genes/proteins to cells and ecosystems and from nano-particles to biominerals and rock formations through deep time to now. With my focus on noble metals my research is at the nexus between fundamental process understanding and biomedical as well as biomining applications. Therefore, I am passionate about teaching our students how different perspectives of the world can be integrated to find innovative solutions to contemporary problems.



    Postdoctoral Fellows

    Dr. Carla M. Zammit (2011 - 13); now at the University of Queensland. Project: Development and testing of whole-cell biosensor for gold and assessment of microbial communities associated with auriferous environments.



    Ph.D. students

    Angelica Rea (November 2014 - present). Project: Biologically mediated transformations of gold in temperate and tropical environments.

    Sahar S. Shar (current, August 2012 - present). Thesis: Mobility and biomineralisation of platinum.

    Nicole Wiesemann (current, 2010 - present). Thesis: Biochemical mechanism of gold resistance and detoxification in Cupriavidus metallidurans

    Christine Ta (completed, 2009 - 13), Thesis: The speciation of gold in mine wastes and natural waters.

    Lintern Fairbrother (completed, 2008 - 13). Thesis: Cupriavidus metallidurans and the biomineralisation of gold


    MSc and BSc Hons

    Andrew Hennessey (2015). Project: 3-D printing of Ca-carbonate precipitating bacteria.

    Sahar S. Shar (completed MSc., 2010 - 12). Thesis: Microbial mechanisms of gold and platinum solubilisation and precipitation.

    Paige Sawley (completed 2014). Thesis: Supergene gold transformation: Secondary and nano-particulate gold from Northern Finland.

    Lachlan Stewart (completed 2011). Thesis: Mobilisation Features and Environmental Mobility of Gold across New Zealand.

    Rebecca Pohrib (completed 2011). Thesis: Exploration Geomicrobiology – Developing bio-indicator technology for mineral exploration.

    Lintern Fairbrother (completed 2008). Thesis: Solubilization of gold by bacterial metabolites.



    Postgraduate courses

    2013-14 Mineral exploration under cover - in the Minerals Tertiary Education Council (MTEC) and Minerals Geoscience Honour’s Program the University of Adelaide - 1 week field course.


    Undergraduate courses

    2013    BRSIII - Basins, Sediments and Regolith III (University of Adelaide, Geology and Geophysics)

    2012    LPEII - Landscape Processes and Environments II (University of Adelaide, Geology and Geophysics)

    2008-11 EGA 3 - Environmental Geoscience Applications III (University of Adelaide, Geology and Geophysics)


  • Research Interests

    Frank Reith is geomicrobiologist and geochemist interested in the geomicrobial processes that affect metal cycling and the formation of new minerals. In turn, he also studies how microbes are affected by elevated concentrations of heavy metals in these environments. His particular interests lie in the biomediated cycling of noble/heavy metals, e.g., gold, platinum, uranium, osmium and iridium. The fundamental processes understanding created in a range of ARC funded project is used to develop tools for industry, e.g., biosensors and bioindicators for mineral exploration. Recently, he has become involved in ecotoxicology and forensic research projects. His approach has always been highly multidisciplinary with techniques from and publications in the fields of geomicrobiology, (meta)genomics, microbial ecology, engineering, micro-analyses, geochemistry, geology and synchrotron science.

  • Research Funding

    Nationally competitive funding

    Reith F (Australian Research Fellow and project leader), Ball A, Fein J. (2010-15). ARC Discovery Project and ARF Fellowship, DP1093238. The geomicrobiology and (bio)geochemistry of platinum, palladium and rhodium; $630K. Platinum, palladium and rhodium are extremely rare precious metals, which are widely used in the petroleum- and automotive industries. This project aims to establish the fundamental understanding of (bio)geochemical and geomicrobial processes leading to the dispersion and accumulation of these metals in soils, sediments and biota overlying mineralisation. Hence, the project provides data required for successful exploration in Australia. In addition, it also provides critical data for environmental and health risk assessments by establishing biogeochemical transformation pathways of highly reactive Pt-, Pd- and Rh particles emitted from catalytic converters.

    Reith F (project leader), Brugger J, Shapter J, Lenehan C, Pring A (2011-2014) ARC Linkage Project LP100200102. Development of Biosensors and Bio-indicators for gold exploration and processing in Australia; $960K Metal-resistant bacteria thriving in gold-bearing zones use specific genetic and biochemical mechanisms to control gold mobility, precipitation and biomineralisation. Using state-of-the-art transcriptomic and proteomic approaches allows us to characterise the genes and proteins involved, and construct revolutionary new gold-specific biosensors for in-field gold quantification with sub-ppb sensitivity. In combination with novel (micro)-analytical techniques and field- and geochemical studies, we will create the mechanistic understanding of gold distribution and speciation in solution and solid materials enabling mineral explorers to extract, detect and quantify Au in sample materials in the field utilising the biosensor technology.

    Brugger J, Reith F (project leader, APDI), Shapter J, Pring A (2007-2010) ARC Linkage Project LP0669007. The geomicrobiology of gold; $590K. Microorganisms living in Australian soils mediate the dispersion and concentration of gold close to mineralisation. However, the organisms responsible, the physiological and biochemical mechanisms involved, the solubilisation and precipitation kinetics, and the nature of the transported gold are unknown. By identifying these organisms and the physiological and biogeochemical processes involved using novel analytical techniques and molecular biology approaches we will create a quantitative understanding of biogeochemical cycling of gold, which may facilitate the construction of sensitive biosensors specific to gold that can be used for mineral exploration, and the development of ore-processing techniques using microorganisms.


    Large collaborative and international funding

    Craw D, Falconer DM, Reith F (leader of geomicrobiology and next generation sequencing), 2013-16. Gold growth in situ: nanoparticles to nuggets. Royal Soc. of New Zealand- Marsden Grant UOO1313; $630K.

    Young A, Bissett A, Mele P, Reith F (key-collaborator, University of Adelaide), Lowe A. et al., 2011-2016. Biome of Australian soil environments. Bioplatforms, National Framework Dataset Program; $4.5M.

    Nies DH, Grosse C, Reith F (leader geomicrobiology and synchrotron approaches, 2010-14. Bacterial interaction with precious metals Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Ni262/11-1. $200K.


    Access to major facilities grants

    2014/3; Australian Synchrotron (Australian Synchrotron, AS); XFM; to Brugger, Li, Reith, Etschmann Distribution and Speciation of Arsenic and Germanium in Australian Ores. (XFM, 4 days, Nov. 2014).

    19.-23.4.2013; AS; XFM; Experimentalists: Reith, Brugger, Etschmann Metalloproteomics of Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34.

    1.-6.5.20122 AS #4464; XFM; Experimentalists: Reith, Brugger, Etschmann, Lombi, Donner; Biomineralisation of gold - nano-XANES imaging of gold in bacterial cells, soil organics and clays.

    10.-18.2.2011; European Synchrotron Research Facility (ESRF); 20 24337 ID22; Experimentalists: Reith, Brugger, Etschmann: Biomineralisation and speciation of gold in individual cells of the metallophilic bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans incubated with three gold(I)-complexes. Funding: AS_IA094_ESRFSC-2954, $11,900.

    29.9.-3.10.2010, AS #2830; XFM; Experimentalists: Reith, Brugger, Etschmann: Field-based biosensors for gold exploration: Understanding the distribution and association of Au in auriferous soils, calcrete and other weathered materials.

    12.-17.8.2009, AS092; XFM; 1307; Experimentalists: Reith, Brugger, Etschmann: Biomineralisation of gold in the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans - SXRF-mapping and µ-XANES on individual bacterial cells.

    06/07-SRI-167 Advanced Photon Source (APS; Chicago) /PNC-CAT Experimentalists: Reith, Schmidt-Mumm, Hough, Brugger: The formation of anomalous gold in carbonate in the Australian regolith – Mapping the role of microbiota.

    22.2.-26.2.2008. EC231, ID22, ESRF. 12 shifts, Assessment of gold bioaccumulation in individual cells of the metallophillic bacterium Ralstonia metallidurans. Experimentalists: Reith, Brugger, Etschmann. AMRF funding 07/08-S-12, $12,000.

    27.6.-3.7.2007, ME110507, APS/2ID-E and 2ID-D: Fundamental mechanisms of gold bioaccumulation by the metallophillic bacterium Ralstonia metallidurans (6 shifts 2ID-D, 12 shifts 2ID-E) Experimentalists: Reith, Brugger, Etschmann. ASRP funding, 06/07 SRI-166, $12,740.

    20.4.-24.4.2007, SSRL, Stanford University; to Reith: Fundamental mechanisms of gold bioaccumulation by the metallophilic bacterium Ralstonia metallidurans. AMRF funding, 06/07-S-45, $4,400.

    12.2006, APS (2-ID-D SRI-155): Mechanisms of gold bioaccumulation by the metallophillic bacterium Ralstonia metallidurans, Experimentalists: Reith, Lombi, Brugger, Etschmann, Hough.


    Additional research funding was awarded from Primary Industries and Regions SA, CSIRO Land and Water and Minerals Down Under Flagships, The South Australian Museum, Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape, Environments and Mineral Exploration, The Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources.

  • Publications

    Book Chapters

    • Shuster J, Reith F, Southam G (2015, invited) Using TEM in geomicrobial research. Analytical Geomicrobiology – A handbook of instrumental techniques. eds. D. Alessi, H. Veerimani, J. Kenney; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
    • Zammit CM and Reith F (2013) Gold biomineralization in the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans. Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins eds. V. N. Uversky, R. H. Kretsinger, E. A. Permyakov. Springer, Berlin, Germany. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-1533-6
    • Reith F, Dürr M, Welch S, Rogers SL (2008) The geomicrobiology of the regolith, In: Scott K. and Pain CF. (eds.) Regolith Geoscience. CSIRO Press Melbourne Australia (accepted for publication 15.11.2007).
    • Reith F, Rogers SL (2007) Exploration Geomicrobiology – The New Frontier. In: C. Dunn, Handbook of Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry 9: Biogeochemistry in Mineral Exploration. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 393-413.


    Refereed Journal Articles

    • Craw D, Kerr G, Reith F, Falconer D.M. (2014, accepted 10.10.14) Pleistocene paleodrainage and placer gold redis-tribution, western Southland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics.
    • Campbell G, Reith F, Etschmann B, Brugger J, Southam G (2014, accepted 30.11.14). Surface transformations of platinum grains from New South Wales, Australia. American Mineralogist.
    • Ta C, Reith F, Brugger J, Pring A, Lenehan C (2014). Analysis of gold(I/III)-complexes by HPLC-ICP-MS demonstrates gold(III) stability in surface waters. Environmental Science and Technology 48, 5737-5744.
    • Zammit CM, Brugger J, Southam G, Reith F (2014). In situ recovery of uranium—the microbial influence. Hydrometallurgy 150, 236-244
    • Weiland F, Zammit CM, Reith F, Hoffmann P (2014). High resolution two-dimensional electrophoresis of native proteins. Electrophoresis 35, 1893-1902.
    • Reith F, Campbell SG, Ball AS, Pring A, Southam G (2014) Platinum in Earth Surface Environments. Earth-Science Rev. 131, 1-21.
    • Watling HR, Collinson DM, Li J, Mutch LA, Perrot FA, Rea SM, Reith F, Watkin E.L.J. (2014) Bioleaching of a low-grade copper ore, linking leach chemistry and microbiology. Minerals Engineering 56, 35-44.
    • Reith F, Brugger J, Zammit CM, Nies DH, Southam G (2013). Geobiological Cycling of Gold: From Fundamental Process Understanding to Exploration Solutions. Minerals 3, 367-394.
    • Zammit CM, Quaranta D, Gibson S, Zaitouna AJ, Ta C, Brugger J, Lai RY, Grass G, Reith F (2013) A Whole-Cell Biosensor for the Detection of Gold PLoS ONE, 8 (8), art. no. e69292.
    • Wiesemann N, Mohr J, Grosse CM, Herzberg M, Hause G, Reith F, Nies DH (2013) Influence of copper resistance determinants on gold transformation by Cupriavidus metallidurans strain CH34. J. Bacteriol. 195, 2298-2308.
    • Brugger J, Etschmann B, Grosse C, Plumridge C, Kaminski J, Paterson D, Shar SS, Ta C, Howard DL, de Jonge MD, Ball AS, Reith F (2013). Can biological toxicity drive the contrasting behavior of platinum and gold in surface environments? Chemical Geology 343, 99-110.
    • Fairbrother L, Etschmann B, Brugger J, Shapter J, Southam G, Reith F (2013). Biomineralization of gold in biofilms of Cupriavidus metallidurans. Environ. Sci. Technol. 47, 2628-2635.
    • Cabral AR, Reith F, Lehmann B, Brugger J, Meinhold G, Tupinambá M, Kwitko-Ribeiro R (2012) Anatase nanoparticles on supergene platinum-palladium aggregates from Brazil: revealers for titanium mobility in natural waters. Chemical Geology 334, 182-188.
    • Reith F, Zammit CM, Rogers SL, McPhail DC, Brugger J (2012). Potential utilization of micro-organisms in gold processing: A Review. Transaction of the Institutions of Mining And Metallurgy 121, 251-260.
    • Reith F, Brugger J, Zammit CM, Gregg AL, Goldfarb KC, Andersen GL, Desantis TZ, Piceno YM, Brodie EL, Lu Z, He Z, Zhou J, Wakelin SA (2012). Influence of geogenic factors on microbial communities in metallogenic Australian soils. The ISME Journal 6, 2107-2118.
    • Reith F, Stewart L, Wakelin SA (2012) Supergene gold transformation: Secondary and nano-particulate gold from southern New Zealand. Chemical Geology 320, 32-45.
    • Zammit CM, Cook N, Brugger J, Reith F (2012) Gold mining: Future technologies driven by bacteria, MESA Journal 65, 18-20.
    • Fairbrother L, Brugger J, Shapter J, Laird JS, Southam G, Reith F (2012) Supergene gold transformation: Biogenic secondary and nano-particulate gold from arid Australia. Chemical Geology 320, 17-31.
    • Zammit CM, Cook N, Brugger J, Ciobanu CL, Reith F (2012) The future of biotechnology for gold exploration and processing. Minerals Engineering 32, 45-53.
    • Wakelin SA, Anand RR, Reith F, Gregg AL, Noble RRP, Goldfarb KC, Andersen GL, Desantis TZ, Piceno YM, Brodie EL (2012). Bacterial communities associated with a mineral weathering profile at a sulphidic mine tailings dump in arid Western Australia FEMS Microbiology Ecology 79, 298-311.
    • Wakelin S, Anand RR, Macfarlane C, Reith F, Noble R, Rogers S (2012) Assessing microbiological surface expression over an overburden-covered VMS deposit. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 112, 262-271.
    • Reith F (2011) Life in the deep subsurface. Geology 39, 287-288.
    • Reith F, Etschmann B, Dart RC, Brewe DL, Vogt S, Schmidt Mumm A, Brugger J (2011) Distribution and speciation of gold in biogenic and abiogenic calcium carbonates – Implications for the formation of gold anomalous calcrete. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75, 1942-1956.
    • Reith F, Fairbrother L, Nolze G, Wilhelmi O, Clode PL ,Gregg A, Parsons JE, Wakelin SA, Pring A, Hough R, Southam G and Brugger J., 2010. Nanoparticle factories: Biofilms hold the key to gold dispersion and nugget formation. Geology 38, 843-846.
    • Phillips G, Reith F, Qualls C, Ali A-M, Spilde M, et al. (2010) Bacterial Deposition of Gold on Hair: Archeological, Forensic and Toxicological Implications. PLoS ONE 5, e9335.
    • Brugger J, Pring A, Ryan C, Reith F, Etschmann B, Liu W, O’Neill B, Ngothai Y (2010) Probing ore deposits formation: new insights and challenges from synchrotron and neutron studies. Radiation Phys. Chem. 79, 151-161.
    • Southam G., Lengke MF, Fairbrother L, Reith F (2009) The biogeochemistry of gold. Elements 5, 303-307.
    • Reith F, Etschmann B, Grosse C, Moors H, Benotmane MA, Monsieurs P, Grass G, Doonan C, Vogt S, Lai B, Martinez-Criado G, George GN, Nies D, Mergeay M, Pring A, Southam G, Brugger J, (2009). Mechanisms of gold biomineralization in the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 106, 17757-17762.
    • Fairbrother L, Shapter J, Pring A, Southam G, Brugger J, Reith F (2009) Effect of the cyanide-producing bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum on ultraflat gold surfaces. Chemical Geology 265, 313-320.
    • 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, Lengke MF, Falconer D, Craw D, Southam G (2007) Winogradski Review – The geomicrobiology of gold. ISME Journal 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. Geochimica et Cosmochimica. Acta 71, 1183-1196.
    • Schmidt Mumm A, Reith F (2007) Calcrete genesis at the gold anomaly of the Barns prospect, Gawler Craton, South Australia. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 92, 13-33.
    • Reith F, Rogers SL, McPhail DC, Webb D (2006) Biomineralization of Gold: Biofilms on bacterioform gold. Science 313, 233-236.
    • Reith F, McPhail DC (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 DC, Christy AG (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, Drake HL, Kuesel K (2002) Anaerobic activities of bacteria and fungi in moderately acidic conifer and deciduous leaf litter. FEMS Microbial Ecology 41, 27-35.

    Refereed Conference Proceedings (selection)

    • Shuster J, Reith F, Southam G (2014) Biogeochemical cycling of gold: Nano-particle formation and accretion. Goldschmidt 2014, Sacramento, USA.
    • Weiland F, Zammit CM, Reith F, Hoffmann P (2014) High resolution two-dimensional electrophoresis of native proteins up to 1.2 MDa. Lorne Proteomics Approaches Conference.
    • Reith F (2014) Biogeochemical cycling of gold and platinum – An integrative micro-analytical approach ICONN ACMM Symposium 2014, Adelaide, Australia.
    • Shuster J, Zammit CM, Reith F; Southam G (2014) Biogeochemical cycling of gold: an overview.
    • Reith F; Shuster J, Zammit CM, Southam G (2014) Keynote: From little things big things grow – What about gold nuggets AESC Convention Newcastle.
    • Brugger J, Mei Y, Reith F, Etschmann B, Fiorentini M, Barnes S. (2014) Palladium transport in aqueous fluids http://ima2014.professionalhosting.co.za/IMAConference/
    • Zammit C.M., Li K., Etschmann B., Brugger J., Reith F. (2013) Geobiology of In Situ Uranium Leaching Advanced Materials Research 825, 372-375.
    • Reith F, Zammit C, Nies DH, Southam G, Brugger J. (2013) Biogeochemical cycling of Au and Pt – Integrating field Studies, micro-analyses and molecular biology. Mineralogical Magazine Goldschmidt spec. edition p. 204
    • Reith F., Grosse C., Brugger J., Nies D.H. (2013) Microbial toxicity determines the environmental mobility of gold and platinum FEMS Symposium Leipzig Germany.
    • Zammit CM, Cook N, Ciobanu CL, Brugger J, Reith F (2013) Prospective Biotechnologies: Future Applications in Gold Exploration and Processing. World Gold 2013 The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Carlton Victoria Australia, pp.233-247.
    • Reith F, Grass G, Zammit C., Southam G., Brugger J (2011) The Geomicrobiology of Au: From Fundamental Processes to Industrial Applications. Mineralogical Magazine Goldschmidt spec. edition p. 1707
    • Reith F, Ta C, Etschmann B, Lenehan C Brugger, J. (2011) Mobility of Platinum and Gold in the Australian Regolith – Spectroscopic and Electron Microscopic Analyses. Mineralogical Magazine Goldschmidt spec. edition p. 1707
    • Campbell G, Reith F, Maclean L, Southam G, 2011. The weathering of platinum from nuggets and platinum immobilisation by Cupriavidus metallidurans Mineralogical Magazine Goldschmidt spec. edition p. 615.
    • Reith F Etschmann B, Brewe DL, Vogt S, Brugger J (2010) The distribution of gold in biogenic and abiogenic carbonates. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73, A1087-A1087 Supplement: Suppl. S.
      Reith F, Pring A., Wakelin SA, Brugger J (2010) The Role of Bacteria in Mobilisation and Deposition of Gold” 13th Quadrennial IAGOD Symposium 2010, ‘GIANT ORE DEPOSITS DOWN-UNDER’. Symposium Proceedings, p. 293.
    • Reith F, Etschmann B, Brewe DL, Vogt S, Brugger J (2009) The distribution of gold in biogenic and abiogenic carbonates. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73, A1087-A1087 Supplement: Suppl. S.
      Fairbrother L, Shapter J, Pring A, Southam G, Brugger J, Reith F (2009) Effect of the cyanide-producing bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum on ultraflat gold surfaces. J Geochem Explor. 101, p. 32.
    • Brugger J, Pring A, Reith F, Etschmann B, Weihua L. (2009) Towards molecular-level understanding of geochemical processes in mineral exploration. Journal of Geochemical Exploration
    • Reith F, Rogers SL, McPhail DC, Brugger J (2007) Potential for the utilisation of micro-organisms in gold processing. In: Avraamides, J., Deschenes G., Tucker, D. (Eds): World Gold 2007, The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Carlton Victoria Australia, pp. 67-74.
    • Reith F, Schmidt Mumm A (2007) Microbially mediated formation of gold in calcrete anomalies in Australia. Geochmica et Cosmochinica Acta 71 (15): A831-A831 Suppl. S.
      McPhail DC, Usher A, Reith F (2006) On the mobility of gold in the regolith: Results and implications from experimental studies, in Regolith 2006 – Proceedings CRC LEME Regolith Symposium (Eds: R. W. Fitzpatrick and P. Shand), p. 386-
    • Reith F, Rogers SL (2006) Bioaccumulation and secondary gold nugget formation Geochmica et Cosmochinica Acta 70 (18): A526-A526 Suppl. S.
    • Reith F, Rogers SL Schmidt Mumm A. (2006). Exploration geomicrobiology – The new frontier. In: R.W. Fitzpatrick and P. Shand Eds., Regolith 2006 Proceedings CRC LEME Regolith Symposium, CRC LEME, 291-295.
    • Reith F., Rogers S. (2005) The influence of micro-organisms on the dispersion and concentration of gold in Australian soils. In: Book of Abstracts and CD, 8th International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements, (8th ICOBTE) Adelaide, 3-7 April 2005. CLW. p. 564-565.
    • Reith F (2005) Contribution of plants and microbiota to the biologically mediated turnover of gold at the Tomakin Park Gold Mine in New South Wales, Australia. In: Roach I.C. ed. 2005. Regolith 2005 – Ten Years of CRC LEME. CRC LEME, pp. 260-264.
    • Reith F, Rogers SL (2004) Gold flakes and the art of molecular bioscience. In: Roach, I.C. Ed., Regolith 2004, CRC LEME, 291-295.
    • Reith F (2004) Microbially mediated mobilisation and precipitation of gold in Australian soil and regolith. Geochmica et Cosmochinica Acta 68 (11): A198-A198 Suppl. S.
      Reith F, McPhail DC (2004) Evidence for a geomicrobiologically mediated gold cycle in soil and regolith in Eastern Australia. In: 17th Australian Geological Convention Conference Proceedings, p. 115.
    • Schmidt Mumm A., Reith F., (2004) The biogeochemistry of calcrete forming processes. In: Roach, I.C. (ed.) Regolith 2004, CRC LEME, p. 315-319.
    • Reith F. (2003) Evidence for a microbially mediated gold cycle in Australian soil and regolith – a literature review. In: Roach, I.C. Ed., Advances in Regolith, CRC LEME, 336-341.
    • Reith F (2002) Interactions of microorganisms with gold in regolith materials from a gold mine near Mogo in southeastern New South Wales. In: Roach, I.C. (ed.): Regolith and Landforms in Eastern Australia, CRC LEME, p. 107-110.
    • Reith F, Kuesel K, Drake HL (1999) Comparative assessment of anaerobic activities of leaf and conifer Litter, Biospectrum (special edition), p. 108.

    Manuscripts in revision, under review and in preparation:

    • Reith F, Zammit CM, Pohrib R, Gregg AL, Schmidt-Mumm A, Wakelin SA (2014, submitted) Geogenic factors as drivers of microbial community diversity in soils overlying polymetallic deposits Environmental Microbiology.
    • Reith F, Zammit CM, Shar SS, Etschmann B, Bottrill R, Southam G, Oberthuer T, Ball AS, Brugger J (2015, submitted). (Trans)formation of platinum and osmiridium nuggets: The role of biofilms and biomineralisation. Nature Geoscience.
    • Wiesemann N., Hause G., Berthold L., Etschmann B., Brugger J., Martinez-Criado G., Herzberg M., Dobritzsch D, Baginsky S,Reith F, Nies DH (2014, submitted) Synergetic gold and copper detoxification at the core of gold biomineralization Nature Communications
    • Ta C, Brugger J, Pring A, Lenehan CE, Reith F (2014, submitted) Effect of manganese oxides on the mobilization and speciation of gold. Chemical Geology.
    • Zammit C.M., Weiland F., Joël Brugger, Gordon Southam, Peter Hoffmann, Reith F (2015, in preparation) Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34: proteomic response to gold and copper. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.
    • Sawley P., Reith F (2015, in preparation) Supergene gold (trans)formation – Biofilms, nanoparticulate an secondary gold from northern Finland. Chemical Geology.
    • Etschmann, B., Grosse C., Martinez-Criado G., Brugger J., Reith F (2015, in preparation) Effect of Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34 on the transformation of mobile platinum and gold complexes. Chemical Geology.
    • Reith F, Etschmann B, Southam G, Nolze G, Brugger J (2015, in preparation). Supergene platinum biomineralisation – The formation history of the enigmatic nuggets from Corrego Bom Sucesso, Serro, Brazil. Geology.
    • Reith F, Dart R, Etschmann B., Brugger J., Pring A., Schmidt Mumm A., Cornelis G. (2015, in preparation) Mobility of gold and platinum nano-particles in Australian soils. Chemical Geology.
    • Shuster J, Reith F, Southam G (2015, in preparation) Mobility of gold in soils and sediments of the Kilkivan area, subctropical Queensland, Australia. Chemical Geology.

    Other Publications

    • Reith F (2007) Geomicrobiological investigations at the Jaguar and Teutonic Bore sites in Western Australia. Report for AMIRA P778 – Predictive geochemistry in areas of transported cover, 69 p.
    • Reith F (2004) The geomicrobiology of gold in the weathering environment. Australasian Science 25/6, p. 23-25.
    • Reith F (2003) Relevance of microorganisms for the formation of and the exploration for gold deposits in the Australian regolith. The AUSIMM Bulletin 6, p. 60-62.


    • Reith F (2006) The Geomicrobiology of gold – Interaction of bacteria with gold in Australian soils and deeper regolith materials. Ph.D. thesis, Australian National University.
    • Reith F (1999) Anaerobic activities and anaerobic microbial populations in leaf and conifer litter from two adjacent sites in central eastern Germany (in German). M.Sc. thesis, The University of Bayreuth, Germany.

  • Professional Associations

    • German Microbiological Society (since 1999)
    • European Association of Geochemistry (since 2004)
    • Geochemical Society (since 2006)
    • Australian Synchrotron XFM-PAC committee (2015)

  • Community Engagement


    ‘Interviews for Nature concerning gold cycling the environment, published 2013 as P. Gynne, Microbiology: There's gold in them there bug, Nature 495 S12–S13

    ‘Der Kinder Brockhaus’ a children’s encyclopedia in German, Brockhaus Verlag, Guetersloh, Germany.

    There’s gold in them there modified bugs, for New Scientist 10.10.09.

    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.

    Scope - Channel 10 kids and teenager science show 25.4.2010

    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.


  • Files

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Entry last updated: Saturday, 18 Aug 2018

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