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Marine Pollution Bulletin

Bioleaching of multiple metals from contaminated sediment by moderate thermophiles

Min Gan, Shiqi Jie, Mingming Li, Jianyu Zhu, Xinxing Liu

School of Minerals Processing and Bioengineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China Key Laboratory of Biometallurgy of Ministry of Education, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China.


A moderately thermophilic consortium was applied in bioleaching multiple metals from contaminated sediment. The consortium got higher acidification and metals soubilization efficiency than that of the pure strains. The synergistic effect of the thermophilic consortium accelerated substrates utilization. The utilization of substrate started with sulfur in the early stage, and then the pH declined, giving rise to making use of the pyrite. Community dynamic showed that A. caldus was the predominant bacteria during the whole bioleaching process while the abundance of S. thermotolerans increased together with pyrite utilization. Solubilization efficiency of Zn, Cu, Mn and Cd reached 98%, 94%, 95%, and 89% respectively, while As, Hg, Pb was only 45%, 34%, 22%. Logistic model was used to simulate the bioleaching process, whose fitting degree was higher than 90%. Correlation analysis revealed that metal leaching was mainly an acid solubilization process. Fraction analysis revealed that metals decreased in mobility and bioavailability.

Keywords: Bioleaching; Multiple metals; Moderate thermophiles; Leaching model; Community dynamic.
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