African Journal of Biotechnology

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Bioremoval of arsenic in purpose designed laboratory-scale bioreactors

Daniel Teclu, George Tivchev, Mark Laing, Mike Wallis


Laboratory scale bioreactors were used to investigate the treatment of arsenic species deliberately contaminated groundwater. A mixed culture of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) with molasses as carbon source was immobilised on a polystyrene support matrix. The artificial groundwater contained either As(III) or As(V) at concentrations of 20, 10, 5, 1 or 0.1 mg/l as well as 0.1 mg/l of a mixture with As(III) accounting for a total of 20, 30, 40, 60 and 80%. More than 90 and 60% of the As(V) and As(III), respectively, were removed by the end of a 14-day experiment. Total arsenic had been reduced to below the WHO acceptable level of 10 μg/l when the proportion of As(III) was 20 and 30%, while at 40% As(III), this level was reached only after 21 days treatment. The efficiency of As(III) removal was increased by first oxidising it to As(V) using MnO2.

Keywords: Arsenite, arsenate, bioreactor, polystyrene, sulphate-reducing bacteria

African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 12(21), pp. 3260-3271

AJOL African Journals Online