Metal(loid) Biogeochemistry

Microorganisms contribute greatly to the biogeochemical cycling of metals and metalloids through transformational processes such as redox, complexation, and adsorptions.  These transformations contribute greatly to the bioavailability of these nutrients and/or pollutants.  We take a laboratory- and field-based approach to examine biotic and abiotic transformation mechanisms, microbial communities and activities, biomineral formation, and resulting geochemistry that contributes to the overall health of natural and heavily polluted environments. Current projects in the lab include fungi-induced selenium transformations, microbial manganese oxidation and biomineralization, and iron-sulfur-carbon cycling in riparian wetlands.


“first we should consider manoomin / psiη (wild rice)”

The Santelli lab is part of a highly interdisciplinary collaboration between Great Lakes Tribal communities and University of Minnesota researchers that prioritizes Tribal views in order to identify and tackle the threats faced by manoomin/psiη (wild rice) and its habitat and to further protect Indigenous resource sovereignty.  This project integrates the cultural significance, ecology, and policy of manoomin.  Our

This project is funded by UMN Grand Challenges and the Institute on the Environment.

Learn more at the manoomin project website, facebook page, or brief summary.


Microorganisms play an integral role in transforming pollutants in the environment.  These processes can be harnessed for cleaning up heavily impacted environments through passive techniques or advanced technologies.  The Santelli lab conducts research on bioremediation of manganese in coal mine drainage as well as selenium bioremediation from industrial waste streams and mining processes.

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