Journal article

Analysis of microbial communities associated with bioremediation systems for thiocyanate-laden mine water effluents

Research Areas

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Publication Details

Author list: Huddy RJ, Kadzinga F, Rahman SF, Kantor R, Banfield JF, Harrison STL.

Publisher: Trans Tech Publications

Publication year: 2017

Journal: Solid State Phenomena

Journal name: Solid State Phenomena

Volume number: 262

Start page: 601

End page: 604

Total number of pages: 4

ISBN: 9783035711806

ISSN: 1662-9779



During the processing of refractory gold ores, cyanide (CN-) and residual sulphur species react to form an effluent stream containing thiocyanate (SCN-) and residual CN-. The release of SCN- and CN-
containing effluent water to the environment is prohibited,
necessitating effective treatment prior to discharge and/or reuse of
contaminated plant water. Biologically mediated effluent remediation
processes have been developed for commercial use, to remediate
SCN-containing effluents, with the aim of enabling recycling of process
water and improving the quality of effluent water prior to disposal.
Bioremediation processes to treat these effluents rely on a complex
consortium of microorganisms to metabolise the SCN- resulting
in the production of ammonium that is in turn removed by conversion to
nitrite and subsequent denitrification. Increasingly, genomic methods
are being used to investigate processes in wastewater treatment to
identify key microbial species and, thereby, inform the rationale design
and operation of these bioremediation systems. The microbial ecology of
laboratory-based SCN- degrading bioprocesses have been
investigated, using genome resolved metagenomics, to provide detailed
information on the community composition and metabolic profile of
abundant microbial community members. Three Thiobacillus strains and an
Afipia strain capable of SCN- degradation were shown to be
highly abundant within a reactor system enabling biofilm formation. In
contrast the inclusion of suspended mineral tailings within an
alternative reactor system, led to the selection of an active planktonic
microbial community with reduced microbial diversity containing only a
single SCN-degrading Thiobacillus sp. This information is being used to
inform further rational development of SCN- degradation processes for treatment of contaminated industrial wastewater effluents.


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Last updated on 2018-07-02 at 09:42