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Microbial induced carbonate precipitation for immobilizing Pb contaminants: Toxic effects on bacterial activity and immobilization efficiency

Jiang, Ning-Jun, Liu, Rui, Du, Yan-Jun, Bi, Yu-Zhang
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.672 pp. 722-731
Sporosarcina pasteurii, ammonium, bacteria, bacterial growth, biosorption, calcium, carbonates, cell viability, chemical precipitation, electrical conductivity, environmental factors, enzyme activity, groundwater, heavy metals, immobilization in soil, lead, lead nitrate, nutrient solutions, pH, pollutants, soil stabilization, toxicity, urea, urease
Microbial induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) is a natural bio-mediated process, which has been explored for soil stabilization and heavy metals immobilization in soil and groundwater. Previous studies have shown that MICP is capable of immobilizing various heavy metals including lead (Pb). However, most studies focus merely on the immobilization of heavy metals with relatively low concentration. This study: (1) presents results of an investigation into the toxic effects of Pb on bacterial activity and immobilization efficiency within a wide range of Pb concentrations; and (2) identifies controlling biotic and abiotic factors of Pb immobilization by MICP. In the first series of tests, bacterial strains (Sporosarcina pasteurii) are inoculated into nutrient solutions containing 0–50 mM Pb(NO3)2 and incubated at 30 °C. Biochemical parameters are measured over time, which include pH, electrical conductivity, urease activity, and viable cell number. In the second series of tests, grown bacterial strains are mixed with urea, calcium salts and Pb(NO3)2 in solution. Viable cell number, produced ammonium concentration, aqueous Pb concentration of the mixed solution, and total precipitation mass are measured. The results show that the presence of Pb has marginal effect on bacterial growth and associated urease activity at Pb concentration < 30 mM. The calcium source and initial bacteria concentration are found to remarkably influence Pb immobilization efficiency in terms of Pb removal percentage. Supplementary geochemical simulation results indicate that the Pb immobilization mechanisms includes abiotic precipitation, biotic precipitation and bio-sorption.