Mobilization of Silver, Gold, and Platinum from Solid Materials by HCN-Forming Microorganisms
Cyanogenic Chromobacterium violaceum, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and P. plecoglossicida were able to mobilize silver, gold and platinum when grown in the presence of various metal-containing solids such as powdered platinum, platinum-containing automobile catalytic converters, powdered silver, or gold-containing electronic scrap. Five percent of silver was mobilized from powdered jewelry scrap as dicyanoargentate after one day, although 96% was mobilized when non-biological cyanide leaching was applied. Dicyanoargentate proved to inhibit growth at concentrations >20 mg/L. Gold was microbially solubilized from electronic scrap (shredded printed circuit boards). Maximum dicyanoaurate concentration corresponded to a 68.5% dissolution of the total gold added. Additionally, cyanide-complexed copper was detected during treatment of electronic scrap due to its high copper content of approximately 100 g/kg scrap. Small amounts of platinum were mobilized from pure platinum powder after 10 days. The process proved to be very slow. In summary, all findings demonstrate the potential of microbial mobilization of metals as cyanide complex from solid materials and represent a novel type of microbial metal mobilization which might find industrial application.
Axel Schippers, Wolfgang Sand, Franz Glombitza and Sabine Willscher
H. Brandl et al., "Mobilization of Silver, Gold, and Platinum from Solid Materials by HCN-Forming Microorganisms", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 20-21, pp. 50-53, 2007