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Realizing high-rate sulfur reduction under sulfate-rich conditions in a biological sulfide production system to treat metal-laden wastewater deficient in organic matter.

07:00 EST 22nd December 2017 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Realizing high-rate sulfur reduction under sulfate-rich conditions in a biological sulfide production system to treat metal-laden wastewater deficient in organic matter."

Biological sulfur reduction can theoretically produce sufficient sulfide to effectively remove and recover heavy metals in the treatment of organics-deficient sulfate-rich metal-laden wastewater such as acid mine drainage and metallurgic wastewater, using 75% less organics than biological sulfate reduction. However, it is still unknown whether sulfur reduction can indeed compete with sulfate reduction, particularly under high-strength sulfate conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term feasibility of biological sulfur reduction under high sulfate conditions in a lab-scale sulfur-reducing biological sulfide production (BSP) system with sublimed sulfur added. In the 169-day trial, an average sulfide production rate (SPR) as high as 47 ± 9 mg S/L-h was achieved in the absence of sulfate, and the average SPR under sulfate-rich conditions was similar (53 ± 10 mg S/L-h) when 1300 mg S/L sulfate were fed with the influent. Interestingly, sulfate was barely reduced even at such a high strength and contributed to only 1.5% of total sulfide production. Desulfomicrobium was identified as the predominant sulfidogenic bacterium in the bioreactor. Batch tests further revealed that this sulfidogenic bacteria used elemental sulfur as the electron acceptor instead of the highly bioavailable sulfate, during which polysulfide acted as an intermediate, leading to an even higher bioavailability of sulfur than sulfate. The pathway of sulfur to sulfide conversion via polysulfide in the presence of both sulfur and sulfate was discussed. Collectively, when conditions favor polysulfide formation, sulfur reduction can be a promising and attractive technology to realize a high-rate and low-cost BSP process for treating sulfate-rich metal-laden wastewater.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Water research
ISSN: 1879-2448
Pages: 239-245

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