1932

Abstract

The use of acidiphilic, chemolithotrophic iron- and sulfur-oxidizing microbes in processes to recover metals from certain types of copper, uranium, and gold-bearing minerals or mineral concentrates is now well established. During these processes insoluble metal sulfides are oxidized to soluble metal sulfates. Mineral decomposition is believed to be mostly due to chemical attack by ferric iron, with the main role of the microorganisms being to reoxidize the resultant ferrous iron back to ferric iron. Currently operating industrial biomining processes have used bacteria that grow optimally from ambient to 50°C, but thermophilic microbes have been isolated that have the potential to enable mineral biooxidation to be carried out at temperatures of 80°C or higher. The development of higher-temperature processes will extend the variety of minerals that can be commercially processed.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.micro.56.012302.161052
2002-10-01
2024-04-24
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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