Francisca Prieto Fernández



I am an environmental microbiologist currently working as a PhD candidate in the in the Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit. My main field of interest lies in the ecology of microorganisms in extreme environments such as the cold-climates found in (sub-)arctic regions as well as polluted sites contaminated with metals and metalloids. I am particularly interested in finding biological tools to solve current environmental issues, such as alternative solutions for the extraction of critical raw materials (biomining) and/or the removal of priority pollutants in mine contaminated sites (bioremediation).

Research interests

  • What are the environmental parameters influencing microorganisms in soils exposed to low temperatures or high metal(loid) concentrations?
  • Who are the microorganisms inhabiting these extreme environments and how is their activity affected by these challenging conditions?
  • Which of these microorganisms have industrial potential in bioremediation and/or biomining?

Social media

Research groups

  • Doctoral student, Water Resources and Environmental Engineering


Capturing the unknown microbial players and genes involved in the cycling of arsenic and antimony in Northern peatland soils

Increased concentrations of the toxic metalloids arsenic and antimony are encountered in peatlands for a variety of reasons, including input of con

Fate of Accumulated Arsenic and Antimony in Peatlands used for Treatment of Mining-Affected Wastewaters

Natural peatlands are used as passive purification systems for mine wastewaters.