Grupo de Biotecnoloxía Ambiental

Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

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Grupo de Biotecnoloxía Ambiental

Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

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Juan M. Lema

Research | Publications | Patents | Projects | Contracts | Doctoral Theses | MS Theses | Awards

Juan M. Lema

Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering

Scientific Profiles

Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). He has been Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) (1981-83) and Santiago de Compostela (USC) (1991-2000); Promotor and first Director of the Technological Transfer Centre (USC) (1989-1990); Promotor and first Head of Environmental Engineering (2001-2003); Promotor and first Dean of School of Engineering USC (2003-2010), Promotor and first Head of the Spanish Conference of Chemical Engineering Deans (CODDIQ) (2008-2012) and promotor and first Head of CRETUS (Centre of Cross-disciplinary Research in Environmental Technologies) (2015-2020). He is an Academic (2016 - ) and President (2019 -) of The Royal Galician Academy of Sciences.

Supervisor of 61 Ph.D. Theses; Author of more than 450 papers and book chapters (H index: 72 (Scopus) and an FWCI 1,47 (period 2015-21). More than 19,000 citations. Since 2020 ranked among the top 2% of highest impact worldwide at the list from Stanford University. He is the author or co-author of 20 patents (9 European or International). Ranked amongst the 2% highest impact researchers worldwide in Biotechnology (2020). Editor of the book: “Innovative Wastewater Treatment & Resource Recovery Technologies,” published by IWA (2017).

He has coordinated or participated in 71 research projects founded by the European Union (24), the Spanish Commission of Science and Technology (34), and the Galician Regional Government (13). He has been the Coordinator of the COST Action ”Conceiving Wastewater treatment in 2020” (Water 2020) and the Coordinator of the Spanish project Novedar_Consolider, with 12 research groups from Spain and The Netherlands. Sixteen relevant research projects with companies treating industrial and municipal wastewater. Expert of UNIDO (United Nations for Industrial Development Organisation), Vienna, in the “Treatment of Industrial Effluents.” In total, more than 17 MM€ raised for research..

His former Ph.D. students are at present Professors (11) (in Spain, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia); Associate Professors (16) in Spain, Mexico, Chile, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, and Colombia; Researchers in Universities and Technological Centres (Anfaco, Aimen, Ainia, Feuga, Giro, CetAQUA…); or responsible for R&D in several companies (Repsol, Abiasa, Bialactis, Biena, Inditex,…). In addition, six of his former Ph.D. students were ranked in 2022 among the top 2% of highest impact worldwide at the list from Stanford University.

Dr. Honoris causa by the University of Valladolid (2021); Dr.Honoris causa by Politecnico de Milano (2021); Honorary Professor of Queensland University (2018); Dr.Honoris causa by Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile (2015); Distinguished Fellow of International Water Association (2022); Fellow of International Water Association (2014); Golden Insignia of University of Santiago de Compostela (2013); Martinez Moreno Award of Innovation. Madrid (2011); Golden medal of Chemical Engineering University of Valladolid (2010); Babcock Innovation Award (2004); European Prize of Industrial Enzymes. Barcelona (1993); Ingeniero Comerma Award (Ferrol, 1989).


  • Ph.D. in Industrial Chemistry. University of Santiago de Compostela, 1975
  • Graduation in Industrial Chemistry University of Santiago de Compostela, 1971


  • Full Professor, Univ.Santiago de Compostela (USC) 1985-
  • Dean of Environmental Engineering USC (2001-)
  • Head of Department of Chemical Engineering USC (1991-2001)
  • Full Professor, Univ. Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) (1983-85)
  • Associate Professor UAB (1976-83)
  • Assistant Professor USC (1971-1975)

Teaching Activities

  • Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering. (Chemical Engineering Degree, 1st year
  • Bioprocesses (Master in Chemical Engineering and Bioprocesses)
  • Research Projects (Master in Chemical Engineering and Bioprocesses)

Research Activities

  • Biotransformation of organic micropollutants in wastewater
  • Tertiary treatment of micropollutants in enzymatic reactors with nanoparticles
  • Selective production of VFA by anaerobic fermentation
  • Development of innovative Wastewater Treatment Plants
  • Microbial dynamics in anaerobic reactors
  • Bioplastics production from lignocellulosic wastes
Model-aided targeted volatile fatty acid production from food waste using a defined co-culture microbial community
Authors-Ext: R.Turunen, K.S.Vuoristo, J.Uusitalo
Magazine/book: Science of the Total Environment
Date of publication: 01/01/2023
Publishing house: Elsevier
ISBN: 0048-9697
Impact Index: 10.75
Quartil: 1
Decil: 1
DOI: link
Sulfamethoxazole Enhances Specific Enzymatic Activities under Aerobic Heterotrophic Conditions: A Metaproteomic Approach
Magazine/book: Environmental Science & Technology
Date of publication: 08/09/2022
Publishing house: American Chemical Society
ISBN: 1064-3389
Impact Index: 11.75
Quartil: Q1
Decil: D1
DOI: link
Engineering the outcome of cofermentation processes by altering the feedstock sugar-to protein ratio
Website: Minerva Link
Authors-Ext: R. Bevilacqua
Magazine/book: Environmental Science Water Research & Technology
Volume: 8
Pages: 1478–1488
Date of publication: 01/07/2022
Publishing house: Royal Society of Chemistry
ISBN: 2053-1419
Impact Index: 5.82
Quartil: Q1
Decil: D2
DOI: link
Procedimiento y sistema de eliminación de microcontaminantes mediante reactor con nanopartículas magnéticas y unidad de separación externa
Authors-Ext: Carlos Vázquez Vázquez, Alfonso Fondado Fondado, Jorge Mira Pérez
Date of publication: 08/10/2018
Método y sistema para la eliminación de fósforo, carbono orgánico y nitrógeno mediante biomasa granular aerobia y aeración pulsante
Authors-Ext: José Luis Campos
Date of publication: 27/09/2018
Method and system for eliminating microcontaminants by means of a reactor with an enzyme immobilised in magnetic nanoparticles and an internal separation unit
Authors-Ext: Adriana Arca Ramos, Carlos Vázquez Vázquez, Alfonso Fondado Fondado, Jorge Mira Pérez,
Date of publication: 12/09/2018
Cross-Research in Environmental Technologies (CRETUS) - AGRUPACIÓNS ESTRATÉXICAS 2018
Main researcher: Juan M. Lema
Financial organism: Xunta de Galicia
Reference: ED431E 2018/01
Amount 600000.00€
Scope: Proyecto autonómico
Date of publication: 24/10/2018
Recovery and utilization of nutrients 4 low impact fertilizer (RUN4LIFE)
Main researcher: Juan M. Lema
Working Group: Miguel Mauricio
Financial organism: European Commission (H2020)
Reference: 730285-1
Amount 434257.00€
Scope: Proyecto europeo
Date of publication: 01/06/2017
Rede Galega de Tecnoloxías Ambientais (REGATA)
Main researcher: Juan M. Lema
Financial organism: Xunta de Galicia (Galician Government)
Reference: (ED431D R2016/033)
Amount 120000.00€
Scope: Proyecto autonómico
Date of publication: 01/01/2017
Valorización de residuos orgánicos con control avanzado e monitoraxe óptica (ROMEO)
Main researcher: Juan M. Lema
Reference: CONECTA PYME. IN852A2016/97-2. (2016-2018)
Amount 65785.13€
Scope: Proyecto autonómico
Partners: Roca Roibás, S.A.U., AQUA-NOR Aguas del Noroeste, S.L., Centro de Valorización Ambiental del Norte, S.L., Indutec Ingenieros, S.L.U. y XILOGA, S.L.
Date of publication: 09/12/2016
Improved wastewater treatment in small population centers (MEDRAR)
Main researcher: Marta Carballa, Juan M. Lema
Reference: CONECTA PYME IN852A 2016/12. Otri 2016-CE087. (220/01400)
Amount 78119.78€
Scope: Proyecto autonómico
Partners: Canalizaciones y Construcciones Salnés, S.L., ASM Soft, S.L. y Tratamiento Industrial del Agua, S.A.
Date of publication: 29/01/2016
Co-digestión con valorización de nitrógeno y biogás (Smart Green Gas)
Main researcher: Juan M. Lema, Marta Carballa
Financial organism: Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (CDTI). FCC AQUALIA, S.A.
Reference: (2014-CE224)
Amount 147620.00€
Scope: Proyecto nacional
Date of publication: 01/06/2015
Doctoral Theses
Understanding the enzymatic and cometabolic biotransformation of organic micropollutants under aerobic heterotrophic conditions
Authors: David Kennes
Date: 25/03/2022
European doctorate: X
Cum Laude: X
Mechanistic understanding of mixed-culture fermentations by metabolic modelling
Authors: Alberte Regueira
Date: 26/06/2020
Extraordinary Doctorate Award: X
European doctorate: X
Cum Laude: X
A comparison of novel and conventional sewage treatment plants in terms of energy requirements, operational costs and organic micropollutants removal
Authors: Antón Taboada
Date: 19/12/2019
European doctorate: x
Cum Laude: x
Master Theses
Utilización de biomasa pretratada mediante o proceso Organosolv como sustrato en cultivos Clostridium para a producción de ABE por fermentación extractiva
Authors: Nicolás Botana
Date: 17/02/2017
Produción selectiva de butirato a partir de xilosa mediante un cultivo mixto
Authors: Antón Taboada
Supervisors: Juan M. Lema
Date: 01/02/2015
Eliminación de compuestos farmacéuticos y de cuidado personal (CFCPs) en efluentes anaerobios empleando sistemas biológicos de filtración/adsorción
Authors: Lidia Paredes
Date: 11/07/2013
Outstanding Poster Award: Influence of external microorganism on the microbiome in anaerobic reactors
Date of publication: 17/10/2017
Best Platform Presentation: “Linking thermodynamics and kinetics to assess pathway reversibility in anaerobic fermentations “
Authors-Ext: Robbert Kleerebezem
Date of publication: 25/06/2013
“Feasibility of spent metalworking fluids treatment by anaerobic co-digestion”
Authors-Ext: Rocío Pena, Juan A. Álvarez
Date of publication: 25/06/2013
Determination of microplastics in three wastewater treatment plants in north-western Spain
Authors-Ext: Massimo Lazzari
Type: Poster
Magazine/book: Book of abstracts of 6th IWA International Conference on eco-Technologies for wastewater treatment (EcoSTP 2023)
Date: 26/06/2023
Organization: Lequia, Universitat de Girona y Catalan Institute for Water Research
City: Girona (Spain)
Can feeding composition affect co-metabolism of pharmaceutical compounds in activated sludge systems or is sludge retention time the only key parameter?
Authors-Ext: Lorena González-Gil
Type: Oral presentation
Magazine/book: Proceedings of 12th Micropol & Ecohazard Conference 2022
Date: 06/06/2022
City: Santiago de Compostrela (Spain)
Understanding inefficient substrate use with resource allocation models
Type: Oral presentation
Magazine/book: ICBM4 (4th International Conference on Biogas Microbiology)
Date: 09/05/2022
City: Braga (Portugal)
Website: ICBM-4
Experimental Platform. Validation and dissemination of environment technology equipment
Main researcher: Juan M. Lema
Financial organism: MEC
Amount 250700.00€
Date of publication: 01/01/2008
Gas chromatograph with mass spectrometry detector
Main researcher: Juan M. Lema
Financial organism: Xunta de Galicia
Amount 60000.00€
Date of publication: 01/01/2002
Gas analysis system by quadrupole mass spectrometry
Main researcher: Juan M. Lema
Financial organism: Xunta de Galicia
Amount 38945.58€
Date of publication: 01/01/1999