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High Efficiency Mercury Sorption by Dead Biomass of Lysinibacillus sphaericus—New Insights into the Treatment of Contaminated Water

1
Microbiological Research Center (CIMIC), Department of Biological Sciences, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá 111711, Colombia
2
Department of Chemistry, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá 111711, Colombia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(8), 1296; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12081296
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Metal Ions in Biology, Biochemistry and Medicine)
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Abstract

Mercury (Hg) is a toxic metal frequently used in illegal and artisanal extraction of gold and silver which makes it a cause of environmental poisoning. Since biosorption of other heavy metals has been reported for several Lysinibacillus sphaericus strains, this study investigates Hg removal. Three L. sphaericus strains previously reported as metal tolerant (CBAM5, Ot4b31, and III(3)7) were assessed with mercury chloride (HgCl2). Bacteria were characterized by scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS-SEM). Sorption was evaluated in live and dead bacterial biomass by free and immobilized cells assays. Hg quantification was achieved through spectrophotometry at 508 nm by reaction of Hg supernatants with dithizone prepared in Triton X-114 and by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (GF-AAS). Bacteria grew up to 60 ppm of HgCl2. Non-immobilized dead cell mixture of strains III(3)7 and Ot4b31 showed a maximum sorption efficiency of 28.4 µg Hg/mg bacteria during the first 5 min of contact with HgCl2, removing over 95% of Hg. This process was escalated in a semi-batch bubbling fluidized bed reactor (BFB) using rice husk as the immobilization matrix leading to a similar level of efficiency. EDS-SEM analysis showed that all strains can adsorb Hg as particles of nanometric scale that can be related to the presence of S-layer metal binding proteins as shown in previous studies. These results suggest that L. sphaericus could be used as a novel biological method of mercury removal from polluted wastewater. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; biosorption; dead cells; Lysinibacillus sphaericus; dithizone; GF-AAS; EDS-SEM mercury; biosorption; dead cells; Lysinibacillus sphaericus; dithizone; GF-AAS; EDS-SEM
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Vega-Páez, J.D.; Rivas, R.E.; Dussán-Garzón, J. High Efficiency Mercury Sorption by Dead Biomass of Lysinibacillus sphaericus—New Insights into the Treatment of Contaminated Water. Materials 2019, 12, 1296.

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