Biorecovery of Platinum Group Metals from Secondary Sources
Since 1998 demand for the platinum group metals (PGM) has exceeded supply resulting in large price increases. Undersupply, combined with rising costs prompts environmentally friendly recycling technologies. Leachates containing PGM were produced from secondary waste sources using microwave leaching technology with the aim of recovering precious metals using bacterial biomass. Previous studies showed that metallised biomass exhibits catalytic activity; hence metal is not only recovered but can be converted into a valuable product. Cells of Escherichia coli MC4100 that had been pre-metallised with Pt were more effective at reducing PGM from the leachates. The solid recovered from the leachate onto the bacteria was characterised using X-ray Powder Diffraction (XRD) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis (EDX). Metallised biomass was tested for catalytic activity (reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III)) to compare the ‘quality’ of polymetallic bacterial-based catalysts versus counterparts made from single and mixed metal model solutions.
Axel Schippers, Wolfgang Sand, Franz Glombitza and Sabine Willscher
A. J. Murray et al., "Biorecovery of Platinum Group Metals from Secondary Sources", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 20-21, pp. 651-654, 2007