Bioleaching of phosphorus from low grade ores and concentrates with acidophilic iron- and sulphur-oxidizing bacteria

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Bioleaching experiments of phosphorus from low grade fluorapatite ore containing 8.2% P2O5 and from fluorapatite concentrate containing 29.8% P2O5 were carried out in shake flasks. Elemental sulphur was supplemented as an energy source for acid generation. Mixed and pure acidophilic bacterial cultures consisting of iron- and/or sulphur-oxidizing bacteria Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, A. thiooxidans and Leptospirillum ferrooxidans were used in the experiments. These acidophiles are commonly used in bioleaching of sulphide minerals, but their application on phosphorus bioleaching has been limited. Phosphorus leaching was shown to be a pH-dependant phenomenon. Phosphorus leaching yields of up to 97% and 28% were obtained in 3 weeks for low grade fluorapatite ore and concentrate, respectively. These results indicate a potential for applying bioleaching for phosphorus extraction from low grade materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-269
JournalAdvanced Materials Research
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
Event20th International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium, IBS 2013 - Antofagasta, Chile
Duration: 8 Oct 201311 Oct 2013
Conference number: 20



  • acidophilic bacteria
  • bioleaching
  • phosphorus

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