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Bioleaching of Heavy Metals from Sewage Sludge Using Indigenous Iron-Oxidizing Microorganisms: Effect of Substrate Concentration and Total Solids

Authors: Ashish Pathak, M. G. Dastidar, T. R. Sreekrishnan


In the present study, the effect of ferrous sulfate concentration and total solids on bioleaching of heavy metals from sewage sludge has been examined using indigenous iron-oxidizing microorganisms. The experiments on effects of ferrous sulfate concentrations on bioleaching were carried out using ferrous sulfate of different concentrations (5-20 g L-1) to optimize the concentration of ferrous sulfate for maximum bioleaching. A rapid change in the pH and ORP took place in first 2 days followed by a slow change till 16th day in all the sludge samples. A 10 g L-1 ferrous sulfate concentration was found to be sufficient in metal bioleaching in the following order: Zn: 69%>Cu: 52%>Cr: 46%>Ni: 45. Further, bioleaching using 10 g/L ferrous sulfate was found to be efficient up to 20 g L-1 sludge solids concentration. The results of the present study strongly indicate that using 10 g L-1 ferrous sulfate indigenous iron-oxidizing microorganisms can bring down pH to a value needed for significant metal solubilization.

Keywords: Bioleaching, heavy metals, sewage sludge, iron oxidizing microorganisms

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