Hemp Fibres as Novel Green Support Material for Immobilization of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans

Document Type : Original Article


Biotechnology Research Laboratory, School of Chemical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box: 16846-13114, Tehran, Iran


The suitability of hemp fibres as green support material for immobilization of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans cells in ferrous iron bio-oxidation process was investigated. A series of experiments were carried out in shake flasks and bioreactor for both cell immobilization and iron bio-oxidation. In flask experiments, five successive batch colonization cycles resulted in 6-fold increase in ferrous iron bio-oxidation rate. Evaluation of immobilized cells activity through two approaches as wet and dry storage demonstrated the higher activity of wet stored bacteria than dry ones after a period of two months. The dry stored bacteria lost almost all their activities after eight weeks. Whereas, the activity of wet stored samples was 30% at the same time. In bioreactor experiments, use of a packed-bed bioreactor with hemp fibres, the maximum ferrous iron bio-oxidation rate of 2.46 kg m-3 h-1 was obtained at dilution rate of 3.97 h-1, and retention time of 0.25 h. Our experimental results could pave a new platform for the application of hemp fibre as an inexpensive and environmentally friendly support material in bacterial cell immobilization, especially in ferrous iron bio-oxidation process using acidophilic bacteria. 


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