Julio Castillo | Biogeochemistry | Best Researcher Award

Dr. Julio Castillo, Biogeochemistry, Best Researcher Award

PHD at  University of the Free State, South Africa

Dr. Julio Castillo, a Peruvian senior researcher at the University of the Free State, South Africa, boasts a prolific career in environmental microbiology and biogeochemistry. With a Ph.D. in “Geology and Environmental Management of Mineral Resources,” he leads the Applied and Environmental Microbiology Group, overseeing nine graduate students. Dr. Castillo’s impactful contributions include the development of the patented “BDAS System” for mine drainage treatment, utilized across Africa and Europe. Recognized internationally, he has secured over €1.9 million in research funding, published extensively, and earned accolades for his dedication to advancing science and technology in the field.

Professional Profiles:

Scopus Profile

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📚 Education:

2017: Specialist in omics techniques (molecular microbiology) and Bioinformatics/Biostatistics, University of Free State, South Africa. 2013: Ph.D. in Geology and Environmental Management of Mineral Resource: Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry, International University of Andalucía and University of Huelva, Spain (Cum Laude). 2010: Master in Instrumental Techniques in Chemistry, University of Huelva, Spain.

Professional Experience:

12/2019-Present: Group Leader, Applied and Environmental Microbiology Group, University of the Free State, South Africa. 7/2017-2019: Senior Researcher, SAENSE PLATFORM, University of the Free State, South Africa. 6/2013-5/2017: Post-Doctoral-Research Associate, SAENSE PLATFORM, University of the Free State, South Africa.

Academic Recognition:

International Award in the area of science and technology for the Ph.D. study, 2012. Society Memberships: ICDP, South African Society for Microbiology, Geochemical Society, Water Institute of Southern Africa. Grant Reviewing: Regular reviewer for National Research Foundation (NRF, South Africa) since 2014.

Research Focus

Dr. Julio Castillo’s research primarily focuses on environmental microbiology, biogeochemistry, and the sustainable management of mine waste. His work investigates the role of indigenous microbial communities in mobilizing potentially toxic elements and rare-earth elements from alkaline mine waste. Additionally, he explores bacterial community shifts in acid mine drainage treatment using innovative systems, such as the barium carbonate disperse alkaline substrate. Dr. Castillo delves into natural biodegradation processes of cyanide in gold tailings environments and assesses the effects of pH and temperature on sulfate-reducing bacteria. His diverse research portfolio spans the realms of microbiology, geochemistry, and environmental science, contributing valuable insights for sustainable resource management.

Publications (TOP NOTES):

Microbial recovery of rare earth elements, Cited by 4, Publication date: 2022/1/15.


Environmental and geochemical characterization of alkaline mine wastes from Phalaborwa (Palabora) Complex, South Africa, Cited by 6, Publication date: 2021/5/1.


Bioaccessibility and human exposure to metals in urban soils (Huelva, SW Spain): Evaluation by in vitro gastric extraction, Cited by 9, Publication date: 2021/1/27.


Mine waste from carbonatite deposits as potential rare earth resource: Insight into the Phalaborwa (Palabora) Complex, Cited by 11, Publication date: 2022/1/1.



Biomineralization and bioaccumulation of europium by a thermophilic metal resistant bacterium, Cited by 50, Publication date: 2019/1/30.


Passive elimination of sulfate and metals from acid mine drainage using combined limestone and barium carbonate systems, cited by 61, Publication date: 2018/5/1.


Anaerobic reduction of europium by a Clostridium strain as a strategy for rare earth biorecovery, cited by 19, Publication date: 2019/10/4.


Mine drainage remediation using barium carbonate dispersed alkaline substrate, cited by 1, Publication date: 2019/4/2