The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is two-pronged: removal of metal contaminants in wastewater to limit regulatory/environmental costs and recovery of economically valuable metals. Water metal contamination is a ubiquitous problem due to the many industrialized processes that drive our economy. Examples include mining drainage, metal plating, semiconductor fabrication, and solar cell production. These examples straddle well-established and emerging industries but each pose significant environmental impact due to metal contamination potential. Furthermore, the loss of the associated metals carries an economic consequence as un-recovered material represents a significant missed opportunity in raw material utilization. The proposed technology in this Phase I project is poised to address these concerns.The technical objectives in this Phase I research project are to produce a novel metal binding compound and to scale-up the water-metal removal prototypes based upon this compound. The project will develop a production system for producing a small molecule natural product capable of binding metal compounds with high affinity. This compound will be bound to a solid matrix which enables a heterogeneous means of removing metal content from contaminated water samples. Existing small-scale production and water treatment prototypes will be subjected to cellular and process engineering to scale up for water treatment applications. This scaling step is considered crucial to establishing the viability of the overall technology and approach. Metabolic engineering strategies will be utilized to improve cellular production of the metal binding compound. Process engineering will be applied to scale production of the compound and to assess subsequent packed-bed column operations designed to continuously remove metals from water samples. The team will work closely with a local metal plating company to demonstrate the technology with field wastewater samples. Success will result in a scaled prototype for extended application across industries facing metal contamination/loss.