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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biomodification of coal to remove mercury

Authors
item Klasson, K Thomas
item Borole, Abhijeet - OAK RIDGE NAT'L. LAB
item Mckeown, Cathy - OAK RIDGE NAT'L. LAB
item Hamilton, Choo - OAK RIDGE NAT'L. LAB

Submitted to: Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 21, 2005
Publication Date: April 30, 2006
Citation: Klasson, K.T., Borole, A.P., Mckeown, C.K., Hamilton, C.Y. 2006. Biomodification of coal to remove mercury. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 129-132:897-908.

Interpretive Summary: A biological process for removal of mercury from coal is under investigation. Iron and sulfur eating bacteria have previously been used for sulfur removal from coal and for mineral mining. We have shown that removal of mercury from coal is also possible via the same principles. Two bacteria, Leptospirillum ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and four environmental bacterial samples obtained from acid mine drainage were studied for mercury removal from coal. Four different coal samples were included in the study and the preliminary results have shown that up to 20% of the mercury can be removed in batch cultures compared to control. Additional parameters such as water composition and level of bacteria were also studied. This is the first report demonstrating successful leaching of mercury from coal using biological treatment.

Technical Abstract: A biological process for removal of mercury from coal is under investigation. Iron and sulfur oxidizing bacteria have previously been used for desulfurization of coal and for mineral mining. We have shown that removal of mercury from coal is also possible via the same principles. Two pure cultures, Leptospirillum ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and four environmental consortium samples obtained from acid mine drainage were studied for mercury removal from coal. Four different coal samples were included in the study and the preliminary results have shown that up to 20% of the mercury can be removed in batch cultures compared to control. Additional parameters such as media composition and inoculum size were also studied. This is the first report demonstrating successful leaching of mercury from coal using biological treatment.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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