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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 100, Issue 18, pp 7921–7931 | Cite as

Manufacturing demonstration of microbially mediated zinc sulfide nanoparticles in pilot-plant scale reactors

  • Ji-Won MoonEmail author
  • Tommy J. Phelps
  • Curtis L. Fitzgerald Jr
  • Randall F. Lind
  • James G. Elkins
  • Gyoung Gug Jang
  • Pooran C. Joshi
  • Michelle Kidder
  • Beth L. Armstrong
  • Thomas R. Watkins
  • Ilia N. Ivanov
  • David E. Graham
Biotechnological products and process engineering

Abstract

The thermophilic anaerobic metal-reducing bacterium Thermoanaerobacter sp. X513 efficiently produces zinc sulfide (ZnS) nanoparticles (NPs) in laboratory-scale (≤ 24-L) reactors. To determine whether this process can be up-scaled and adapted for pilot-plant production while maintaining NP yield and quality, a series of pilot-plant scale experiments were performed using 100-L and 900-L reactors. Pasteurization and N2-sparging replaced autoclaving and boiling for deoxygenating media in the transition from small-scale to pilot plant reactors. Consecutive 100-L batches using new or recycled media produced ZnS NPs with highly reproducible ~2-nm average crystallite size (ACS) and yields of ~0.5 g L−1, similar to the small-scale batches. The 900-L pilot plant reactor produced ~320 g ZnS without process optimization or replacement of used medium; this quantity would be sufficient to form a ZnS thin film with ~120 nm thickness over 0.5 m width × 13 km length. At all scales, the bacteria produced significant amounts of acetic, lactic, and formic acids, which could be neutralized by the controlled addition of sodium hydroxide without the use of an organic pH buffer, eliminating 98 % of the buffer chemical costs. The final NP products were characterized using XRD, ICP-OES, TEM, FTIR, PL, DLS, HPLC, and C/N analyses, which confirmed that the growth medium without organic buffer enhanced the ZnS NP properties by reducing carbon and nitrogen surface coatings and supporting better dispersivity with similar ACS.

Keywords

Pilot plant reactor Microbially mediated manufacturing Zinc sulfide nanoparticles Scalability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the US Department of Energy (DOE), Advanced Manufacturing Office, Low Temperature Material Synthesis Program (CPS 24762). FTIR analysis performed by M.K. Kidder was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for DOE under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725. The authors thank Dr. C.B. Jacobs at ORNL for constructive discussion, Dr. J, Zhu for TEM images and S.R. Cline and J.P. Dugger for assistance designing the pilot plant and safety procedures. We also thank Stout Tanks & Kettles, LLC, for the customized reactor design and construction.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2016_7556_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (942 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 942 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji-Won Moon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tommy J. Phelps
    • 1
  • Curtis L. Fitzgerald Jr
    • 2
  • Randall F. Lind
    • 3
  • James G. Elkins
    • 1
  • Gyoung Gug Jang
    • 3
  • Pooran C. Joshi
    • 4
  • Michelle Kidder
    • 5
  • Beth L. Armstrong
    • 4
  • Thomas R. Watkins
    • 4
  • Ilia N. Ivanov
    • 6
  • David E. Graham
    • 1
  1. 1.Biosciences DivisionOak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)Oak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.Fusion Materials for Nuclear Systems DivisionORNLOak RidgeUSA
  3. 3.Energy and Transportation Science DivisionORNLOak RidgeUSA
  4. 4.Materials Science and Technology DivisionORNLOak RidgeUSA
  5. 5.Chemical Sciences DivisionORNLOak RidgeUSA
  6. 6.Center for Nanophase Materials SciencesORNLOak RidgeUSA

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