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Solubilization of rare earths from rock phosphate using microorganisms

Grant number: 14/07823-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2014
Effective date (End): December 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Technology
Principal Investigator:Denise Bevilaqua
Grantee:Samir Prioto Tayar
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil


The rare earths elements are increasingly present in technological applications every day, leading to an increase of the demand for these metals. Meanwhile, China, the major producer and exporter of rare earths set a threshold quantity of export of these elements, which was further decreased dramatically in 2010, causing the market values raise up exponentially from this year. In parallel to these events was recently discovered large reserves of rare earths in Brazil, making our country, the second in the ranking of which has more rare earths in the world. Due to the similar chemical behavior of rare earth elements, it is difficult to concentrate and get high-grade compounds of isolated elements. It is necessary use of large amounts of acids, oxidizing and reducing reagents as well as specific organic solvents that are applied in the current separation methods, making this process elevated costs, thus increasing the final value of the product. This project intends to study an alternative to current methods of chemical opening of the ore applying a biotechnological route using bacteria that obtain their energy from oxidizing iron and sulfur minerals producing acid, which is responsible for the solubilization of rare earth phosphates at mild conditions and with a lower cost alternative and less harmful to the environment.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
TAYAR, SAMIR PRIOTO; PALMIERI, MAURICIO CESAR; BEVILAQUA, DENISE. Sulfuric acid bioproduction and its application in rare earth extraction from phosphogypsum. MINERALS ENGINEERING, v. 185, p. 7-pg., . (14/07823-5)

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Filed patent(s) as a result of this research project

MÉTODO DE PROCESSAMENTO DE TERRAS RARAS MEDIANTE BIOEXTRAÇÃO INDIRETA BR1020160117712 - Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) . Samir Prioto Tayar ; Mauricio Cesar Palmieri ; Denise Bevilaqua - May 2016, 24