Environmental Microbiology

Sub-project 6:

Microbial leaching of trace-element- or microminerals-containing sphalerite

May 1ˢᵗ 2013 – April 30ᵗʰ 2017
Institute and professorship:
Institute of Biosciences, Environmental Microbiology
Responsible professor and other scientist:
Staff on the project:
Associated Members:
Aim of sub-project:
Spalerite (ZnS) is among the minerals which can be dissolved by activities of acidophilic iron- or sulfur-oxidizing microorganisms (Viera et al., 2007). It is an acid-soluble mineral and subject to leaching by the polysulfide mechanism (Schippers & Sand, 1999). Sphalerite occurring in nature often contains additional metals, especially iron, but, depending on the deposit, it may also contain precious trace metals (Link zu Teilprojekt 1). These additional metals may occur by replacement of Zn2+ ions as part of the sphalerite crystal or as separate microminerals enclosed by sphalerite. The main aim of the sub-project is to investigate the effect of the occurrence of trace metals in the sphalerite-mineral structure or of microminerals in the sphalerite on the microbial leachability of sphalerite.
Publications of sub-project and associated projects:
  • Bittner, L. (2012). Biolaugung des Kupferschiefers - Einfluss organischer Gesteinsbestandteile auf die Effizienz der mikrobiellen Laugung. Bachelorarbeit
  • Magoltz, M. (2013): Laugung carbonathaltiger Kupfererze durch Schwefel. Bachelorarbeit
  • Schopf, S., Gelhaar, N., Behm, T., Klingl, A. and Schlömann, M. (2013). Bioleaching of Sphalerite - Approaches for the winning of strategic elements. Poster presentation 5th Mine Water Symposium
  • Lindemann, K., Heim, J., Schopf, S., Kutschke, S., Pollmann, K., Gutzmer, J. and Schlömann, M. (2013). Bioleaching of Copper Shale under Acidic Conditions. Scientific Advisory Committee at Helmholtz Institute Freiberg
  • Giebner, F. (2014). Investigation of Biological and Chemical Parameters of Microbial ZnS Leaching. Master thesis
  • Gelhaar, N., Schopf, S. and Schlömann, M. (2014). The effect of different media compositions on sphalerite bioleaching. Biohydrometallurgy´14. Accepted for presentation
  • Giebner, F., Kaschabek, S., Schopf, S. and Schlömann, M. (2014). Three new methods to quantify biomass and activity of microbial leaching cultures. Biohydrometallurgy´14. Accepted for presentation
Student theses related to sub-project:
  • Richter, L. Diversität ausgewählter Standorte in der Reichen Zeche mit dem Fokus auf Anaerobiern und Archaeen. Bachelorarbeit (Betreuer S. Schopf)
Possible additional student projects:
To be defined.
Literature cited: