Aquatic environment

Effect of sediment size on bioleaching of heavy metals from contaminated sediments of Izmir Inner Bay

Duyusen E. Guven , Gorkem Akinci


Received October 04, 2012,Revised January 11, 2013, Accepted , Available online September 06, 2013

Volume ,2013,Pages 1784-1794

The effect of sediment size on metals bioleaching from bay sediments was investigated by using fine (< 45 μupm), medium (45-300 μupm), and coarse (300-2000 μupm) size fractions of a sediment sample contaminated with Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn. Chemical speciation of the metals in bulk and size fractions of sediment were studied before and after bioleaching. Microbial activity was provided with mixed cultures of Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans and ,Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. The bioleaching process was carried out in flask experiments for 48 days, by using 5% (W/V) of solid concentration in suspension. Bioleaching was found to be efficient for the removal of selected heavy metals from every size fraction of sediments, where the experiments with the smaller particles resulted in the highest solubilization ratios. At the end of the experimental period, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn were solubilized to the ratios of 68%, 88%, 72%, and 91% from the fine sediment, respectively. Higher removal efficiencies can be explained by the larger surface area provided by the smaller particles. The changes in the chemical forms of metals were determined and most of the metal releases were observed from the reducible and organic fractions independent from grain size. Higher concentrations were monitored in the residual fraction after bioleaching period, suggesting they are trapped in this fraction, and cannot be solubilized under natural conditions.

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