To develop a novel biotechnological method for removing toxic arsenic from two kinds of representative arsenic-containing ores using different mixed mesophilic acidophiles. Methods:
Bioleaching of the two types of arsenic-containing ores by mixed arsenic-unadapted Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans
and Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans
or mixed arsenic-adapted cultures, were carried out. Arsenic bioleaching ratios in the various leachates were determined and compared. Results:
The results showed that the maximum arsenic leaching ratio obtained from realgar in the presence of mixed adapted cultures was 28.6 %. However, the maximum arsenic leaching ratio from realgar in the presence of mixed unadapted strains was only 12.4 %. Besides, maximum arsenic leaching ratios from arsenic-bearing refractory gold ore by mixed adapted strains or unadapted strains were 45.0 and 22.9 %, respectively. Oxidation of these two ores by sulfuric acid was insignificant, as maximum arsenic leaching ratios of realgar and arsenic-bearing refractory gold ore in the absence of any bacterium were only 2.8 and 11.2 %, respectively. Conclusion:
Arsenic leaching ratio of realgar and refractory gold ore can be enhanced significantly in the presence of arsenic-adapted mesophilic acidophiles.