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Research Article

Effects of forced aeration on community dynamics of free and attached bacteria in copper sulphide ore bioleaching

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  • Received: 8 April 2020Revised: 19 June 2020Accepted: 22 June 2020Available online: 24 June 2020
  • In order to obtain better bioleaching efficiency, bacterial community dynamics and copper leaching with applying forced aeration were investigated during low-grade copper sulphide bioleaching. Results illustrated appropriate aeration yielded improved bacteria concentrations and enhanced leaching efficiencies. The highest bacteria concentration and Cu2+ concentration after 14-day leaching were 7.61×107 cells•mL-1 and 704.9 mg•L-1, respectively, when aeration duration was 4 h•d-1. The attached bacteria played a significant role during bioleaching from day 1 to day 7. However, free bacteria dominated the bioleaching processes from day 8 to day 14. This is mainly caused by the formation of passivation layer through Fe3+ hydrolysis along with bioleaching, which inhibited the contact between attached bacteria and ore. Meanwhile, 16S rDNA analysis verified the effect of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus thiooxidanson on bioleaching process. The results demonstrate the importance of free and attached bacteria in bioleaching.
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Effects of forced aeration on community dynamics of free and attached bacteria in copper sulphide ore bioleaching

  • Corresponding author:

    Wei Chen    E-mail: ustbchenwei@126.com

  • 1. Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for High-Efficient Mining and Safety of Metal, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
  • 2. School of Civil and Resource Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
  • 3. Discipline of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering, Monash University, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Bandar Sunway, Selangor Darul Ehsan 47500, Malaysia

Abstract: In order to obtain better bioleaching efficiency, bacterial community dynamics and copper leaching with applying forced aeration were investigated during low-grade copper sulphide bioleaching. Results illustrated appropriate aeration yielded improved bacteria concentrations and enhanced leaching efficiencies. The highest bacteria concentration and Cu2+ concentration after 14-day leaching were 7.61×107 cells•mL-1 and 704.9 mg•L-1, respectively, when aeration duration was 4 h•d-1. The attached bacteria played a significant role during bioleaching from day 1 to day 7. However, free bacteria dominated the bioleaching processes from day 8 to day 14. This is mainly caused by the formation of passivation layer through Fe3+ hydrolysis along with bioleaching, which inhibited the contact between attached bacteria and ore. Meanwhile, 16S rDNA analysis verified the effect of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus thiooxidanson on bioleaching process. The results demonstrate the importance of free and attached bacteria in bioleaching.

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