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Journal Articles Water Research Year : 2012

Precipitation of arsenic sulphide from acidic water in a fixed film bioreactor


Arsenic (As) is a toxic element frequently present in acid mine waters and effluents. Precipitation of trivalent arsenic sulphide in sulphate-reducing conditions at low pH has been studied with the aim of removing this hazardous element in a waste product with high As content. To achieve this, a 400 mL fixed-film column bioreactor was fed continuously with a synthetic solution containing 100 mg.L-1 As(V), glycerol and/or hydrogen, at pH values between 2.7 and 5. The highest global As removal rate obtained during these experiments was close to 2.5 mg.L-1.h-1. A switch from glycerol to hydrogen when the biofilm was mature induced an abrupt increase in the sulphate-reducing activity, resulting in a dramatic mobilisation of arsenic due to the formation of soluble thioarsenic complexes. A new analytical method, based on ionic chromatography, was used to evaluate the proportion of As present as thioarsenic complexes in the bioreactor. Profiles of pH, total As and sulphate concentrations suggest that As removal efficiency was linked to solubility of orpiment (As2S3) depending on pH conditions. Molecular fingerprints revealed fairly homogeneous bacterial colonisation throughout the reactor. The bacterial community was diverse and included fermenting bacteria and Desulfosporosinus-like sulphate-reducing bacteria. arrA genes, involved in dissimilatory reduction of As(V), were found and the retrieved sequences suggested that As(V) was reduced by a Desulfosporosinus-like organism. This study was the first to show that As can be removed by bioprecipitation of orpiment from acidic solution containing up to 100 mg.L-1 As(V) in a bioreactor.

Dates and versions

hal-00693293 , version 1 (02-05-2012)



Fabienne Battaglia-Brunet, Catherine Crouzet, André Burnol, Stéphanie Coulon, Dominique Morin, et al.. Precipitation of arsenic sulphide from acidic water in a fixed film bioreactor. Water Research, 2012, 46 (12), pp.3923-3933. ⟨10.1016/j.watres.2012.04.035⟩. ⟨hal-00693293⟩


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