Sulfur Product Layer in Sphalerite Biooxidation: Evidences for a Mechanism of Formation


Article Preview

The sphalerite-pyrite oxidation by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans was studied to analyze how the formation of the elemental sulfur layers occurs around sphalerite grains. Two possible mechanisms of formation have been raised. One mechanism corresponds to the formation of sulfur pseudomorphs where, both, iron and zinc have been leached of the sphalerite, whereas compound sulfur is oxidized, in situ, to elemental sulfur, leaving an unreacted core of sphalerite that remains in the center. Another mechanism consists in the dissolution of iron, zinc and sulfur presents. When the attack by Fe3+ as by H+ broken the S-metal bonds, sulfur is then oxidized to a series of sulfur intermediate compounds. These compounds in solution then are oxidized to elemental sulfur, which precipitates on sphalerite grains.



Advanced Materials Research (Volumes 20-21)

Edited by:

Axel Schippers, Wolfgang Sand, Franz Glombitza and Sabine Willscher




D. M. Zapata et al., "Sulfur Product Layer in Sphalerite Biooxidation: Evidences for a Mechanism of Formation", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 20-21, pp. 134-138, 2007

Online since:

July 2007




[1] G. Da Silva, M. R Lastra and J.R. Budden: Minerals Engineering Vol. 16 (2003), p.199.

[2] Y. Rodriguez, A. Ballester, M.L. Blázquez, F. Gonzáles and J.A. Muñoz: Hydrometallurgy Vol. 71 (2003), p.57.

[3] G. Rossi: Biohydrometallurgy. McGraw - Hill Book Company GmbH, Hamburg, (1990).

[4] J.E. Thomas, W.M. Skinner and RSt. Smart: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta Vol. 62 (1998), p.1555.

[5] C. Weisener, R. Smart and A. Gerson: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta Vol. 67 (2003), p.823.

[6] L. Ahonen and O. Tuovinen: Geomicrobiology Journal Vol. 10 (1993), p.207.

[7] G. Da Silva: Hydrometallurgy Vol. 73 (2004), p.313.

[8] D.M. Ossa, M.A. Márquez and D.M. Zapata: Submitted to Revista Colombiana de Biotecnología (2007).

[9] F. Crundwell: Hydrometallurgy Vol. 33 (1987), p.137.

[10] F. Crundwell: AIChE Journal Vol. 34 (1988), p.1128.

[11] T. Fowler and F. Crundwell: Applied and environmental microbiology Vol. 65 (1999), p.5285.

[12] A. Schippers and W. Sand: Applied and environmental microbiology Vol. 65 (1999), p.319.