Bioleaching of heavy metals from anaerobically digested sewage sludge using FeS2 as an energy source

Jonathan W C WONG*, L. Xiang, X. Y. Gu, L. X. Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of using FeS2 as an energy source, on the bioleaching of heavy metals (Zn, Cr, Cu, Pb and Ni) and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from anaerobically digested sludge using isolated indigenous iron-oxidizing bacteria was investigated in this paper. Addition of FeS 2 in the range of 0.5-4.0 gl-1 accelerated the acidification of sludge and raised the oxidation-reduction potential of sludge medium with an inoculation of 15% (v/v) of active bacteria, thus resulting in an overall increase in metal dissolution efficiency. After 16 days of bioleaching at 28°C and an initial pH of 3.0, up to 99% of Zn, 65% of Cr, 74% of Cu, 58% of Pb and 84% of Ni can be removed from the sludge. In contrast, only 94% of Zn, 12% of Cr, 21% of Cu, 32% of Pb and 38% of Ni were leached out in the control without inoculation of iron-oxidizing bacteria and the addition of FeS2. Less than 15% of nitrogen and 6% of phosphorous were lost after 16 days of bioleaching when using FeS2 as the energy source. Comparing to 39% and 45% loss respectively for these two nutrients when using FeSO4·7H2O as the energy source, FeS2 appears to be a more suitable energy source for preserving nutrients in sludge while removing heavy metals from sludge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bioleaching
  • Heavy metal
  • Iron-oxidizing bacteria
  • Pyrite
  • Sludge


Dive into the research topics of 'Bioleaching of heavy metals from anaerobically digested sewage sludge using FeS2 as an energy source'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this