Metal Removal from Contaminated Soils Trough Bioleaching with Oxidizing Bacteria and Rhamnolipid Biosurfactants

Mayri A. Diaz, Isora Urdaneta de Ranson, Blas Dorta Dorta, Ibrahim Banat, Maria L. Blazquez, Felisa Gonzalez, Jesús A. Muñoz, Antonio Ballester

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The use of surfactants as a method for solubilisation and removal of heavy metal contaminationfrom soil has been reported before. Biosurfactants produced by some microorganisms are able tomodify the surface of various metals and aggregate on interphases favouring metal separationprocess from contaminated environments. We evaluated the feasibility of enhancing the removalof metal ions from a mineral waste/contaminated soils using alternate cycles of treatment withrhamnolipid biosurfactants and bioleaching with amixed bacterial culture of Acidithiobacillusthiooxidans and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Bioleaching alone removed 50% Zn and 19%Fe. When rhamnolipids was used at low concentration (0.4 mg/mL) 11% Fe and 25% Zn wereremoved while at 1 mg/mL 19% Fe and 52% Zn removal were achieved. When using a cyclictreatment combining bioleaching and biosurfactants, metal removal reached up to 36% for Feand 63% to 70% for Zn.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
JournalSoil and Sediment Contamination: An International Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


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