Analysis of the microbial community associated with a bioprocess system for bioremediation of thiocyanate- and cyanide-laden mine water effluents

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2015-11

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Advanced Materials Research

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Trans Tech Publications

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University of Cape Town

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Abstract
Gold extraction by cyanidation from refractory gold ores results in the formation of thiocyanate- and cyanide-contaminated wastewater effluents that must be treated before recycle or discard. Activated sludge processes, such as ASTER™, can be used for biodegradation of these effluent streams. The destruction of these compounds is catalyzed by a mixed microbial culture, however, very little is known about the community composition and metabolic potential of the thiocyanate- and cyanide-degrading microorganisms within the community. Here we describe our on-going attempts to better understand the key microorganisms, within the ASTER™ bioprocess, that contribute to the destruction of thiocyanate and cyanide, and how this knowledge relates to further process optimisation.
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