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Title: Bioleaching of spent refinery processing catalyst using Aspergillus niger with high-yield oxalic acid
Authors: Santhiya, D.
Ting, Y.-P. 
Keywords: Aspergillus niger
Buffer-stimulated culture
Spent catalyst
Issue Date: 16-Mar-2005
Citation: Santhiya, D., Ting, Y.-P. (2005-03-16). Bioleaching of spent refinery processing catalyst using Aspergillus niger with high-yield oxalic acid. Journal of Biotechnology 116 (2) : 171-184. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: A spent refinery processing catalyst was physically and chemically characterized, and subjected to one-step and two-step bioleaching processes using Aspergillus niger. During bioleaching of the spent catalysts of various particle sizes ("as received", 100-150 μm, <37 μm, and x̄=2.97 (average) μm) and pulp densities, the biomass dry weight and pH were determined. The corresponding leach liquor was analysed for excreted organic acids along with heavy metal values extracted from the catalyst. Chemical characterization of the spent catalyst confirmed the presence of heavy metal including Al (33.3%), Ni (6.09%) and Mo (13.72%). In general, the presence of the spent catalyst caused a decrease in the biomass yield and an increase in oxalic acid secretion by A. niger. The increase in oxalic acid secretion with a decrease in the catalyst particle size (up to <37 μm) led to corresponding increase in the extraction of metal values. The highest extraction of metal values from the spent catalyst (at 1% w/v pulp density and particle size <37 μm) were found to be 54.5% Al, 58.2% Ni and 82.3% Mo in 60 days of bioleaching. Oxalic acid secretion by A. niger in the presence of the spent catalyst was stimulated using 2-[N-Morpholino]ethanesulfonic acid (MES) buffer (pH 6), which resulted in comparable metal extraction (58% Al, 62.8% Ni and 78.9% Mo) in half the time required by the fungus in the absence of the buffer. Spent medium of A. niger grown in the absence and in the presence of MES buffer were found to leach almost similar amounts of Al and Ni, except Mo for which the spent medium of buffered culture was significantly more effective than the non-buffered culture. Overall, this study shows the possible use of bioleaching for the extraction of metal resources from spent catalysts. It also demonstrated the advantages of buffer-stimulated excretion of organic acids by A. niger in bioleaching of the spent catalyst. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Source Title: Journal of Biotechnology
ISSN: 01681656
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2004.10.011
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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