A novel technique ("bioshrouding") for safeguarding highly reactive sulfidic mineral tailings deposits is proposed. In this, freshly milled wastes are colonised with ferric iron-reducing heterotrophic acidophilic bacteria that form biofilms on reactive mineral surfaces, thereby preventing or minimising colonisation by iron sulfide-oxidising chemolithotrophs such as Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Leptospirillum spp. Data from initial experiments showed that dissolution of pyrite could be reduced by between 57 and 75% by "bioshrouding" the mineral with three different species of heterotrophic acidophiles (Acidiphilium, Acidocella and Acidobacterium spp.), under conditions that were conducive to microbial oxidative dissolution of the iron sulfide.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology