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Bioleaching of chalcopyrite (CuFeS2): mechanisms and surface interactions bacteria/mineral

Grant number: 11/19868-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2012 - March 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Technology
Principal researcher:Denise Bevilaqua
Grantee:Denise Bevilaqua
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil


The bioleaching is a biotechnological process to obtain valuable metals, like copper, uranium, gold and nickel. This process is based on the biochemical activity of a group of chemoautotrophic and acidophilic bacteria, which oxidize inorganic substrates, including metal sulfides, as the central metabolism of obtaining energy for their growth. Despite the increased interest in the commercial application of this process, mainly for copper, the main natural source is the chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), an extremely recalcitrant sulfide to acid or bacterial attack. There are several hidrometallurgical alternatives to extract copper from this sulfide, but none of them has become an effective commercial application against the already well-established pyrometallurgical technology, ancient process for metal production and based on the use of high temperatures for melting metal of interest, however with several damage to the environment. The aim of this project is the study of mechanisms and alternatives ways in order to optimize the recovering of copper from chalcopyrite using bacteria which are able to oxidize iron, sulfide from the mineral. These physiological and biochemical studies will be conducted at room temperature and pressure, using among others, electrochemical techniques and microscopy analysis (optical, scanning electron and atomic force microscopy). (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
Bacterias mineras 
Microbes that mine 
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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)
ARENA, FABIANA A.; SUEGAMA, PATRICIA H.; BEVILAQUA, DENISE; DOS SANTOS, ANA L. A.; FUGIVARA, CECILIO S.; BENEDETTI, ASSIS V. Simulating the main stages of chalcopyrite leaching and bioleaching in ferrous ions solution: An electrochemical impedance study with a modified carbon paste electrode. MINERALS ENGINEERING, v. 92, p. 229-241, JUN 2016. Web of Science Citations: 5.

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