Fate of Cyanide in Anaerobic Microbial Systems

Garcia, Hugo J. ; Fuerstenau, M. C. ; Hendrix, J. L. ; Lupan, D. M.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Biodegradation of cyanide by microorganisms isolated from solids previously exposed to cyanide has been investigated. The anaerobic cyanide biodegradation showed good, short-term removal of cyanide in the presence of nutrients (medium A). This system retained metabolic activity at cyanide concentrations up to 300 ppm at pH 10.5. Microscopic examination of stained specimens revealed that the bacteria were Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacilli. Strains capable of cyanide decomposition were identified as Pseudomonas and Alcaligenes. The kinetics of biodegradation were found to be first order with respect to cyanide concentration, and the overall reaction rate constant is k = 0.102 day-1. Studies with Na14CN showed that 17 % of 14C transformation went into the cells, 18 % into carbonate and 47 % into bicarbonate.
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