Heterotrophic Leaching and its Application in Biohydrometallurgy
a Department of Soil Science and Geology, Faculty of Agrobiology and Food Resources, Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra, Slovakia; b Nanotechnology Centre, VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, c Institute of Laboratory Research of Geomaterials, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Bratislava; d Institute of Gemmology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Constantine University, Nitra
Heterotrophic leaching is a common process proceeding in biogeochemical cycles of various essential macro- and micronutrients as well as trace elements in the environment. Microorganisms, especially filamentous fungi play a key role in bioleaching. Due to their extensive metabolic activities, which relate to enormous production of various exometabolites, the interactions of microorganisms with solid substrates with incorporated metals results in significant changes in their distribution in environment, mobility, bioavailability as well as toxicity. The heterotrophic leaching is based on acidification, complexation and redox reactions. These processes can be used in biohyd¬rometallurgical recycling of metals from waste materials. However, to achieve a good efficiency, the process must be well understood and the optimization of extraction conditions is necessary. Heterotrophic bioleaching is an appropriate alternative in metal recovery from various sources.
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