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Rhodococcus opacus as biosorbent on acid mine drainage treatment


Originating from mining and mineral industry activities, the acid mine drainage (AMD) is a aqueous solution with high acidity and high concentrations of sulphate metals that leads to serious environmental problems, specially on aquatic ecosystems, due to the solubilization of heavy metals. The search for new technologies on the treatment of effluents contaminated with metals is focused on some biological materials capacity of binding metallic ions. Treatment by biosorption is worthwhile when compared with conventional processes because it does not require high investments, it is faster, metals can be recovered and biosorbent can be regenerated. Rhodococcus opacus is a gram-positive, non-pathogenic bacteria, that is easily obtained. Its high hydrophobicity is due to compounds present in its surface. Such characteristics turn this microorganisms into a potential sorption agent. This paper aims to evaluate the Rhodococcus opacus capacity as a biosorbent in AMD treatment by batch experiments. The operational parameters that will investigate the biosorption's stage are: pH of the solution, biomass concentration and equilibrium time. The characteristics of the microorganism surface and the involved interaction mechanisms in the heavy metals sorption by Rodococcus opacus, will evaluate based in the potential zeta measurements, infrared spectroscopy and electron microscopy scanning analysis. As result is expected that Rhodococcus opacus presents appropriate characteristics in terms of metals biosorption in the AMD. (AU)