Resource Recovery from Industrial Effluents Containing Precious Metal Species Using Low-Cost Biomaterials — An Approach of Passive Bioremediation and Its Newer Applications
Itankar N, Bhat V, Chourey J, Barve K, Kulkarni S, Rao P and Patil Y (2013) Resource recovery from wastes containing valuable metal species using low-cost biomaterials – An approach of passive bioremediation and its newer applications. In: Applied Bioremediation - Active and Passive Approaches
30 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2014
Date Written: 2013
Industrial wastes can generally be classified as wastes rich in organic matter on one hand and wastes rich in inorganic matter on the other. Cyanide (CN-) and heavy metals (viz. copper, nickel, iron, zinc, cadmium, chromium, silver, gold, etc.) form a significant part of the latter type of wastes. Free cyanide (CN-) is industrially important chemical because of its some unique properties of binding various transition metals to form metal-cyanides (MxCN) complexes of variable stability and toxicity (Sharpe 1976). Therefore, cyanide finds enormous applications in variety of industrial processes. Industries like gold and silver mining, electroplating, printed circuit board manufacturing and jewellery units emanate large-volume low-tenor effluents containing anionic MxCN complexes like gold-cyanide i.e. [Au(CN)2] - and silver-cyanide i.e. [Ag(CN)2] - (Vapur et al 2005). The total cyanide, gold (Au) and silver (Ag) content in these effluents ranges from 5-25, 1-2 and 5-10 mg/L, respectively (Patil 1999). The discharge limits for total cyanide is 0.2 mg/L, while for Au and Ag the standards are yet to be set and currently not available. Apart from Au and Ag many other heavy metals normally occur in the effluents in low quantity and concentrations. If inappropriately managed, cyanide and metals or their complexes can be mobilised and carried into the food web as a result of leaching from waste dumps, contaminated soils and waters. At each level of food chains, the concentration of metals increases which results into a phenomenon called biomagnification. Since cyanide is toxic and Au and Ag being precious metals, non-renewable and finite resource; their complete removal from effluents is the key.
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