Development of microbial mercury detoxification processes using mercury- hyperresistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PU21

Jo Shu Chang, Wen Shing Law

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24 Citations (Scopus)


A mercury-hyperresistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PU21 harboring plasmid Rip64 was utilized to develop bioprocesses able to detoxify and recover soluble mercuric ions in aquatic systems. The kinetics of mercury detoxification was investigated to determine the parameters needed for the design of the bioprocesses. Batch, fed-batch, and continuous bioreactors were utilized to evaluate the efficiency and feasibility of each mode of operation. The results showed that the specific mercury detoxification rate was dependent on cell growth phases, as well as the initial mercury concentrations. Cells at the lag growth phase exhibited the best specific detoxification rate of approximately 1.1 x 10-6 μg Hg/cell/h, and the rate was optimal at an initial mercury concentration of 8 mg/L. In batch operations with initial mercuric ions ranging from 2 to 10 mg/L, the mercuric ions added were rapidly volatilized from the media in less than 2-3 h. With periodic feeding of 3 or 5 mg Hg/L at fixed time intervals, the fed-batch processes had mercury removal efficiencies of 2.9 and 3.3 mg Hg/h/L, respectively. For continuous operations, the effluent cell concentration (X(e)) was essentially invariant at 527 and 523 mg/L with the dilution rates (D) of 0.18 and 0.325 h-1, respectively. The increase in mercury feeding concentrations (Hg(f)) from 1.0 to 6.15 mg Hg2+/L did not affect the steady-state cell concentration (X(e)) but forced the effluent mercury concentration (Hg(e)) to increase. The decrease in the dilution rate, however, resulted in lower Hg(e) values. It was also found that sequential mercury vapor absorption columns recovered over 80% of the Hg°released from the bioreactor while the residual mercury vapor was subsequently immobilized by an activated carbon trap in the down stream of the absorption column.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-470
Number of pages9
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Feb 20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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