Bioremediation of trace organic compounds found in precious metals refineries’ wastewaters: A review of potential options

Barbosa, V.L. and Tandlich, R. and Burgess, J.E. (2007) Bioremediation of trace organic compounds found in precious metals refineries’ wastewaters: A review of potential options. Chemosphere, 68 (7). pp. 1195-1203. ISSN 0045-6535



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Platinum group metal (PGM) refining processes produce large quantities of wastewater, which is contaminated with the compounds that make up the solvents/extractants mixtures used in the process. These compounds often include solvesso, β-hydroxyxime, amines, amides and methyl isobutyl ketone. A process to clean up PGM refinery wastewaters so that they could be re-used in the refining process would greatly contribute to continual water storage problems and to cost reduction for the industry. Based on the concept that organic compounds that are produced biologically can be destroyed biologically, the use of biological processes for the treatment of organic compounds in other types of waste stream has been favoured in recent years, owing to their low cost and environmental acceptability. This review examines the available biotechnologies and their effectiveness for treating compounds likely to be contained in precious metal extraction process wastewaters. The processes examined include: biofilters, fluidized bed reactors, trickle-bed bioreactors, bioscrubbers, two-phase partitioning bioreactors, membrane bioreactors and activated sludge. Although all processes examined showed adequate to excellent removal of organic compounds from various gaseous and fewer liquid waste streams, there was a variation in their effectiveness. Variations in performance of laboratory-scale biological processes are probably due to the inherent change in the microbial population composition due to selection pressure, environmental conditions and the time allowed for adaptation to the organic compounds. However, if these factors are disregarded, it can be established that activated sludge and membrane bioreactors are the most promising processes for use in the treatment of PGM refinery wastewaters.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Amines; MIBK; Organic compounds; Precious metals; Solvent extraction; Solvesso
Subjects:T Technology > TP Chemical technology > Biotechnology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Biochemistry, Microbiology & Biotechnology
ID Code:729
Deposited By: Mrs Eileen Shepherd
Deposited On:03 Jul 2007
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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