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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1981 Jun;41(6):1301-9.

Factors affecting oxidation of thiosalts by thiobacilli.

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Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology, Energy, Mines and Resources Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0G1.


The effects of temperature, initial pH, and the concentrations of ammonium, phosphate, and heavy metals on the oxidation of thiosalts by an authentic strain of Thiobacillus thiooxidans (ATCC 8085) and by a mixed culture isolated from a base metal-processing mill effluent pond were studied. The optimum temperature was 30 degrees C and the optimum initial pH was 3.75 for both cultures using thiosulfate and for the mixed culture using tetrathionate. T. thiooxidans ATCC 8085 did not oxidize tetrathionate. For a thiosalt concentration of 2,000 ppm (2,000 mg/liter), maximal rates of destruction occurred at concentrations of ammonium ion above 2 mg/liter and in the presence of 1 mg of phosphate per liter. Under optimal conditions, the rate of thiosulfate oxidation by the pure culture was 55 +/- 3 mg/liter per h; the mixed culture oxidized thiosulfate at the rate of 40 +/- 1 mg/liter per h and tetrathionate at the rate of 50 +/- 2 mg/liter per h. Metal ions caused normal inhibition kinetics in the oxidation of thiosulfate by T. thiooxidans ATCC 8085. K(i) values were calculated for cadmium (16 mg/liter), copper (0.46 mg/liter), lead (2 mg/liter), silver (3.1 mg/liter), and zinc (33 mg/liter). Only a slight additive effect was apparent in the presence of all of these metal ions. The mixed culture of thiosalt-oxidizing bacteria was less sensitive to heavy metal inhibition; the order of inhibition of thiosulfate oxidation was Cd < Zn < Pb < Ag < Cu, and that of tetrathionate oxidation was Zn < Cd < Pb < Ag < Cu.

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