, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 61-65

Chromate reduction by Microbacterium liquefaciens immobilised in polyvinyl alcohol

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A polyvinyl alcohol-based immobilisation technique has been utilised for entrapping the newly-isolated chromate-reducing bacterium, Microbacterium liquefaciens MP30. Three immobilisation methods were evaluated: PVA-nitrate, PVA-borate and PVA-alginate. Chromate reduction was studied in batch and continuous-flow bioreactors, where the beads maintained integrity during continuous operation. PVA-borate and PVA-alginate cell beads showed a higher rate and extent of chromate reduction than PVA-nitrate cell beads in batch experiments. With the former 100 μM Cr(VI) was removed within 4 days, while only 40 μM Cr(VI) was removed using the latter, and with no increase in Cr(VI) removal subsequently. Cell activity was maintained during immobilisation but the rate of Cr(VI) removal by immobilised cells was only half that of an equivalent mass of free cells. Using PVA-alginate cell beads in a continuous-flow system, chromate removal was maintained at 90–95% from a 50 μM solution over 20 days without signs of bead breakdown.