Iron oxide minerals, schwertmannite and goethite, which are naturally occurring in acidic environments are attractive nanostructured materials because of the potential diverse applications. Although the biosynthesis of schwertmannite by acidophilic Fe(II)-oxidizing microorganisms has been investigated, little is known about goethite biosynthesis under acidic conditions. To examine a biological approach to the synthesis of these minerals, bioreactor experiments were conducted with a newly isolated acidophilic betaproteobacterium. The bioproducts were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, cryogenic Mössbauer spectroscopy, and electron microscopy. The cultures growing at 25◦C and pH 3.0 or at 37◦C and pH 2.5 oxidized Fe(II) and precipitated schwertmannite rapidly. Increasing pH at each temperature resulted in the concomitant production of goethite, and 90% pure goethite was obtained at 37◦C and pH 3.5. The goethite phase was nano-sized and had relatively large specific surface area (133 m2·g−1 ), leading to high sorption capacity for metal oxyanions. Schwertmannite was also a good adsorbent for oxyanions, regardless of the smaller specific surface area. Our results indicate that these acidophilic microbial cultures serve as a simple rapid system for the synthesis of nanostructured goethite as well as schwertmannite.
- Acidophilic iron-oxidizing bacterium
- Metal oxyanion sorption
- Mössbauer spectroscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology