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Growth of Iron-Oxidizing Thiobacilli in the Presence of Chalcopyrite and Galena

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  • Metabolism
  • Growth
  • And Industrial Microbiology
  • Biology


Iron-oxidizing thiobacilli were adapted to grow on a chalcopyrite and a galena ore concentrate. When grown on the chalcopyrite concentrate, the bacteria exhibited a doubling time of 38.4 ± 2.9 h, with a final cellular protein concentration of 185 μg/ml and solubilization of 10.3 g of copper per liter. When grown on the galena ore concentrate, the generation time was 39.6 ± 2.7 h, with a final cellular protein concentration of 120 μg/ml. Galena was converted to lead salts soluble in 1 M ammonium acetate to a concentration of 20.2 g of lead per liter. X-ray diffraction and refractive-image analysis indicated that the smaller-sized particles were favored in this process. Galena was converted to anglesite, and soluble copper was liberated from chalcopyrite with the concurrent formation of jarosite.

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