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Biotechnol Lett. 2018 Jan;40(1):63-73. doi: 10.1007/s10529-017-2435-x. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Bioelectrochemical system for the biooxidation of a chalcopyrite concentrate by acidophilic bacteria coupled to energy current generation and cathodic copper recovery.

Author information

1
Geomicrobiología-Metalurgia, Facultad de Ingeniería, UASLP, Sierra Leona 550, Lomas 2°, 78210, San Luis, SLP, Mexico.
2
Geomicrobiología-Metalurgia, Facultad de Ingeniería, UASLP, Sierra Leona 550, Lomas 2°, 78210, San Luis, SLP, Mexico. jvgm@uaslp.mx.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To develop a bioelectrochemical system (BES) to couple the biooxidation of chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), bioelectrogenesis, and the cathodic Cu2+ reduction, bioanodes of acidophilic (pH < 2) and aerobic chemolithoautotrophic bacteria Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans (sulfur oxidizing) and Leptospirillum sp. (Fe2+ oxidizing) were used.

RESULTS:

CuFeS2 biooxidation increases the charge transfer from the media due to the bioleaching of Cu and Fe. The biofilm on a graphite bar endows a more electropositive (anodic) character to the bioelectrode. By adding the bioleachate generated by both bacteria into the anodic chamber, the acidic bioleachate provides the faradaic intensity. The maximum current density was 0.86 ± 19 mA cm-2 due to the low potential of the BES of 0.18 ± 0.02 V. Such low potential was sufficient for the cathodic deposit of Cu2+.

CONCLUSIONS:

This work demonstrates a proof of concept for energy savings for mining industries: bioanodes of A. thiooxidans and Leptospirillum sp. are electroactive during the biooxidation of CuFeS2.

KEYWORDS:

Acid media; Bioanode; Bioelectrogenesis; Chalcopyrite; Copper recovery

PMID:
28940098
DOI:
10.1007/s10529-017-2435-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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