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Principles of Municipal Sewage Sludge Bioconversion into Biomineral Fertilizer

Authors: K. V. Kalinichenko, G. N. Nikovskaya


The efficiency of heavy metals removal from sewage  sludge in bioleaching processes with heterotrophic, chemoautotrophic  (sulphur-oxidizing) sludge cenoses and chemical leaching (in  distilled water, weakly acidic or alkaline medium) was compared.  The efficacy of heavy metals removal from sewage sludge varies  from 83 % (Zn) up to 14 % (Cr) and follows the order: Zn > Mn > Cu  > Ni > Co > Pb > Cr. The advantages of metals bioleaching process  at heterotrophic metabolism were shown. A new process for  bioconversation of sewage sludge into fertilizer at middle  temperatures after partial heavy metals removal was developed. This  process is based on enhancing vital ability of heterotrophic  microorganisms by adding easily metabolized nutrients and synthesis  of metabolites by growing sludge cenoses. These metabolites possess  the properties of heavy metals extractants and flocculants which  provide the enhancement of sludge flocks sedimentation. The process  results in biomineral fertilizer of prolonged action with immobilized  sludge bioelements. The fertilizer satisfies the EU limits for the  sewage sludge of agricultural utilization. High efficiency of the  biomineral fertilizer obtained has been demonstrated in vegetation  experiments.


Keywords: Fertilizer, heavy metals, leaching, sewage sludge.

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