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Minerals 2016, 6(3), 71;

Enhancement of Biofilm Formation on Pyrite by Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans

Biofilm Centre, Aquatische Biotechnologie, Universität Duisburg—Essen, Universitätsstraße 5, 45141 Essen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: W. Scott Dunbar
Received: 29 April 2016 / Revised: 27 June 2016 / Accepted: 4 July 2016 / Published: 9 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotechnologies and Mining)
PDF [10268 KB, uploaded 9 July 2016]


Bioleaching is the mobilization of metal cations from insoluble ores by microorganisms. Biofilms can enhance this process. Since Sulfobacillus often appears in leaching heaps or reactors, this genus has aroused attention. In this study, biofilm formation and subsequent pyrite dissolution by the Gram-positive, moderately thermophilic acidophile Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans were investigated. Five strategies, including adjusting initial pH, supplementing an extra energy source or ferric ions, as well as exchanging exhausted medium with fresh medium, were tested for enhancement of its biofilm formation. The results show that regularly exchanging exhausted medium leads to a continuous biofilm development on pyrite. By this way, multiply layered biofilms were observed on pyrite slices, while only monolayer biofilms were visible on pyrite grains. In addition, biofilms were proven to be responsible for pyrite leaching in the early stages. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioleaching; Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans; biofilm formation bioleaching; Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans; biofilm formation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, Q.; Sand, W.; Zhang, R. Enhancement of Biofilm Formation on Pyrite by Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans. Minerals 2016, 6, 71.

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