Study of plastics elimination in bioleaching of electronic waste using Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans

  • M. Arshadi
  • S. YaghmaeiEmail author
  • S. M. Mousavi
Original Paper


Polystyrene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, and polypropylene are the main polymers in E-waste, existing about 31%, 16%, and 13%, respectively. In this research, the effects of the elimination of low-density materials (such as polymers and plastics) were studied using the shaking table method. Bioleaching of Cu and Ni against the original sample (Sample #1) and pre-treated sample without low-density materials (Sample #2) was compared. The amount of bioleached metals and growth characteristics (including pH, Eh, bacterial count) was investigated within 25 days. The analysis of Sample #1 showed that at pulp density of 15 g/l, 94% and 79% of Cu and Ni were recovered maximally, respectively, on 14th day. By using Sample #2, the recovery of Cu and Ni decreased to 87% and 74%, respectively, on 6th day. Chemical characteristics (including recovery, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and field emission scanning electron microscope) before and after bioleaching of both E-waste samples confirmed that bioleaching was quite effective. This paper proved the great potential of the bio-hydrometallurgical route to recover heavy metals from electronic wastes, in which recovery of Cu and Ni is higher in the presence of low-density materials.


Cu recovery Low-density materials Ni recovery Polymer Toxicity assessments 



The authors are grateful to Pars Charkhesh Asia Company for the provision of E-waste samples. In addition, the authors would like to thank Alireza Esmaeeli for his cooperation. We are thankful to Iran National Science Foundation (Award Number 96001418) and Biotechnology Development Center (Award Number 960405) for supporting this project financially.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemical and Petroleum Engineering DepartmentSharif University of TechnologyTehranIran
  2. 2.Biotechnology Group, Chemical Engineering DepartmentTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran

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