Honors Theses


Justin Biffinger, Ph.D.



Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Thesis


The prevalent use of lithium-ion batteries in consumer electronics poses a significant sustainability challenge to both manufacturing and source availability over the next 50 years. There are several methods to extract lithium from salt water that are commercially available but require caustic reagents and environmental hazards. However, several lithium-resistant bacteria can precipitate or mineralize lithium ions into a reduced form of lithium that can be processed readily into a lithium source material for batteries. The goal of this project was to culture, characterize, and selectively evolve Shewanlla loihica using lithium-ion concentration changes both aerobically and anaerobically. This strain has published metal-reducing capabilities and by selectively pressuring the organisms with higher and higher concentrations of Li we will understand the fundamental lithium tolerance of the organism. The project includes an understanding of the changes in growth rate due to the subsequent culturing of organisms with increasing concentrations of Li-ion. The hope for the outcome of the project was to find a potential biological approach to the precipitation of Li ions from salt water.

Permission Statement

This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research