Herein we report the findings of an integrated green process for the continuous oxidation and biomineralization of the most toxic As(III) from acidic streams using a laboratory-scale airlift bioreactor operated at thermoacidophilic conditions and fed with Fe(II) as electron donor. As(III) oxidation catalyzed by granular activated carbon (GAC), biological Fe(II) oxidation and scorodite crystallization took place simultaneously in the reactor, allowing the treatment of influent solutions containing 0.65 g·L−1 As(III). At a hydraulic retention time of 2.2 days, a stable arsenite oxidation efficiency of 99% was achieved, while the removal of total arsenic was 93%. Scorodite was yielded as the main solid product whose physical characteristics such as average size (250 µm) and the developed crystalline structure allowed the easy harvesting from the reactor and reflected the high stability by the low arsenic release of 0.4 mg.L−1 after 60 days of leaching. The analysis of the microbial composition in the reactor suspension and the precipitates indicated the dominance of thermoacidophilic archaeon of the genus Acidianus. Similarly, the attachment of microorganisms to the precipitates observed by scanning electron microscopy, suggested that the precipitation in our system was biologically mediated. The simultaneous arsenic oxidation and removal through catalyzed oxidation and biological processes provide the basis for a new and cost effective green methodology for arsenic fixation from acid As(III)-containing wastewaters.
- Acidianus, Activated carbon
- Airlift Reactor, Arsenite oxidation
Scorodite Cystallization through GAC-catalyzed As(III) Oxidation in a Thermoacidophilic Airlift Reactor