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Bio-alteration of metallurgical wastes by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a semi flow-through reactor

van Hullebusch, Eric D., Yin, Nang-Htay, Seignez, Nicolas, Labanowski, Jérôme, Gauthier, Arnaud, Lens, Piet N.L., Avril, Caroline, Sivry, Yann
Journal of environmental management 2015 v.147 pp. 297-305
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, bacteria, calcium, hydrochemistry, iron, lead, magnesium, microbial biomass, siderophores, silicon, slags, texture, toxic substances, wastes, weathering, zinc
Metallurgical activities can generate a huge amount of partially vitrified waste products which are either landfilled or recycled. Lead Blast Furnace (LBF) slags are often disposed of in the vicinity of metallurgical plants, and are prone to weathering, releasing potentially toxic chemical components into the local environment. To simulate natural weathering in a slag heap, bioweathering of these LBF slags was studied in the presence of a pure heterotrophic bacterial strain (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and in a semi-flow through reactor with intermittent leachate renewal. The evolution of water chemistry, slag composition and texture were monitored during the experiments. The cumulative bulk release of dissolved Fe, Si, Ca and Mg doubled in the presence of bacteria, probably due to the release of soluble complexing organic molecules (e.g. siderophores). In addition, bacterial biomass served as the bioadsorbent for Pb, Fe and Zn as 70–80% of Pb and Fe, 40–60% of Zn released are attached to and immobilized by the bacterial biomass.