Potential of biological sulphur recovery from thiosulphate by haloalkaliphilic Thioalkalivibrio denitrificans

Réka Hajdu-Rahkama, Bestamin Özkaya, Aino-Maija Lakaniemi, Jaakko A. Puhakka

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The aim of this study was to investigate the potential for elemental sulphur recovery from sulphurous solutions under aerobic and anoxic conditions by haloalkalophilic Thioalkalivibrio denitrificans at 0.8–19.6 g S2O32−-S L−1 and 0.2–0.58 g NO2 L−1, respectively. The experiments were conducted as batch assays with haloalkaline (pH 10 and ≥ 14 g Na+ L−1) thiosulphate solution. Aerobically, the highest biotransformation rate of thiosulphate obtained was 0.03 h−1 at 8.5 g L S2O32−-S. Based on Monod model, the maximum substrate utilisation rate (qm) was 0.024 h−1 with half saturation constant (Ks) 0.42 g S2O32−-S L−1 at initial [S2O32--S] of 14 g L−1. S0 accumulated at [S2O32−-S] ≥ 1.5 g L−1 (10% yield at initial 9.5 g S2O32−-S L−1) and the highest S0 yield estimated with the model was 61% with initial [S2O32--S] of 16.5 g L−1. Anoxically, the maximum nitrite removal rate based on Monod modelling was 0.011 h−1 with Ks = 0.84 g NO2− L−1. Aerobically and anoxically the maximum specific growth rates (µm) were 0.046 and 0.022 h−1, respectively. In summary, high-rate aerobic biotransformation kinetics of thiosulphate were demonstrated, whereas the rates were slower and no S0 accumulated under anoxic conditions. Thus, future developments of biotechnical applications for the recovery of S0 from haloalkaline streams from the process industry should focus on aerobic treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-816
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Issue number6
Early online date22 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biotransformation of sulphurous compounds
  • Denitrification
  • Haloalkaline sulphurous solution
  • Sulphur oxidising bacteria
  • Sulphur recovery

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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