Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 5, pp 2403–2412 | Cite as

The detoxification potential of ferric ions for bioleaching of the chalcopyrite associated with fluoride-bearing gangue mineral

  • Liyuan Ma
  • Jiangjun Wu
  • Xueduan Liu
  • Ling Tan
  • Xingjie WangEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


Fluoride toxicity to microorganisms was a predominant factor contributing to the failure of a commercial scale bioleach heap. An integrated control strategy for fluoride complexation without jarosite generation by stepwise adding ferric ions was first proposed to enable the bioleaching of the chalcopyrite associated with fluoride-bearing gangue mineral by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Chemical speciation calculation revealed that with the presence of Fe3+, the concentration of the main lethal fluoride to microorganism, HF, decreased dramatically. The pure culture study showed that the detrimental effect of fluoride on microorganism was eliminated by increasing the molar ratio of Fe3+/F to 3:1. Furthermore, chalcopyrite bioleaching experiment revealed the minimum Fe3+/F molar ratio that enabled the bioleaching was 6:1. Stepwise addition was an effective way to promote a balanced system and avoid the formation of jarosite caused by the excessive Fe3+. Above all, the introduction of Fe3+ is a feasible method for reducing the fluoride toxicity during the bioleaching of chalcopyrite, shedding light on the industrial applications.


Fluoride Ferric ion Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans Bioleaching Fe-F complexes 


Funding information

This work was funded by Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) (CUG170671) and the Research Fund Program of Key Laboratory of Biometallurgy, Ministry of Education, Central South University (MOEKLB1702).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9599_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (167 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 166 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental StudiesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.School of Minerals Processing and BioengineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Biometallurgy, Ministry of EducationCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  4. 4.School of Resource and Environmental EngineeringWuhan University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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