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Degradation of cyanide in agroindustrial or industrial wastewater in an acidification reactor or in a single-step methane reactor by bacteria enriched from soil and peels of cassava

Siller, H., Winter, J.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 1998 v.50 no.3 pp. 384-389
acidification, ammonia, bacteria, carbon, cassava, cassava starch, cell suspension culture, enzymes, fermentation, formates, methane, methanogens, mixed culture, pH, potassium cyanide, roots, sewage sludge, soil, temperature, wastewater
During cassava starch production, large amounts of cyanoglycosides were released and hydrolysed by plant-borne enzymes, leading to cyanide concentrations in the wastewater as high as 200 mg/l. For anaerobic degradation of the cyanide during pre-acidification or single-step methane fermentation, anaerobic cultures were enriched from soil residues of cassava roots and sewage sludge. In a pre-acidification reactor this culture was able to remove up to 4 g potassium cyanide/l of wastewater at a hydraulic retention time (tHR) of 4 days, equivalent to a maximal cyanide space loading of 400 mg CN- l(-1) day(-1). The residual cyanide concentration was 0.2-0.5 mg/l. Concentrated cell suspensions of the mixed culture formed ammonia and formate in almost equimolar amounts from cyanide. Little formamide was generated by chemical decay. A concentration of up to 100 mmol ammonia/l had no inhibitory effect on cyanide degradation. The optimal pH for cyanide degradation was 6-7.5, the optimal temperature 25-37 degrees C. At a pH of 5 or lower, cyanide accumulated in the reactor and pre-acidification failed. The minimal tHR for continuous cyanide removal was 1.5 days. The enriched mixed culture was also able to degrade cyanide in purely mineralic wastewater from metal deburring, either in a pre-acidification reactor with a two-step process or in a one-step methanogenic reactor. It was necessary to supplement the wastewater with a carbon source (e.g. starch) to keep the population active enough to cope with any possible inhibiting effect of cyanide.