Isolation and preservation of bacterial cultures with special reference to leaching of Indian copper ores
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1987
In developing nations, novel mineral processing methods like bacterial leaching are gaining prominence. The principles and practices for isolation and preservation of cultures used in bacterial leaching are discussed with special reference to cultures used in leaching copper from Indian ores. In all, 145 potentially useful microorganisms such as iron- and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria were isolated from various ecosystems of the copper mining areas in the country. The major organisms isolated by enrichment culture technique belonged to T. ferrooxidans and T. thiooxidans species. In addition, thermophilic cultures like Sulfolobus sp. and thermophilic thiobacilli were also isolated. The process of copper leaching was scaled up to the 300-kg level in PVC columns. Since the preservation of efficient cultures in active state was vitally important, a new method was devised that preserved the activity of thiobacilli for a period of more than two years. The novel method of storage in sterile chalcopyrite ore at 8°C can be considered an important advance.