Skip to main content

Biodesulfurization of the Tabas deposit coal by microorganisms


The results are presented for the investigations of sulfur removal from coal by a mixed culture of microorganisms. Optimal conditions of the process are established (pH, size of coal particles, pulp density, temperature, etc.). They make it possible to reduce the content of pyrite and total sulfur by 91.84 and 53.5%, respectively. The decrease in ash content of coal under its leaching is noted.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. G. R. Couch, “Biodesulfurization of coal,” IEA Coal Research Report, London (1993).

  2. D. J. Monticello and W. R. Finerty, Ann. Rev. Microbial, No. 39 (1985).

  3. A. Juszczak, F. Domka, M. Kozlowski, and H. Wachowska, “Microbial desulfurization of coal with Thiobacillus ferrooxidans bacteria,” Fuel J., 74, No. 5 (1994).

  4. P. Fecko, “Bacterial desulfurization of coal from open pit mine Michal,” Proceedings of the 5th Southern Hemisphere Meeting on Mineral Technology, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1997).

  5. J. T. Pronk, W. M. Meijer, W. Hazeu, et al., “Growth of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans on formic acid,” Appl. Environ. Microbiol., No. 57 (1991).

  6. P. B. Nikolau, et al., “Leaching of pyrite by acidophilic hetrotrophic iron-oxidizing bacteria in pure and mixed cultures,” App. Env. Microb. J., February (1999).

  7. P. R. Dugan W. A. Apel (1978) Microbial Desulfurization of Coal Academic Press New York

    Google Scholar 

  8. C. H. Kos P. P. E. Poortes P. Bos J. G. Kuenen (1981) Geochemistry of sulfides in coal and microbial leaching experiments International Conference on Coal Science R. F. A. Dusseldorf

    Google Scholar 

  9. G. I. Karavaiko, S. I. Kuznetsov, and A. I. Golonizik, The Bacterial Leaching of Metals from Ores, [English translation], Stonehous: technology limited (1977).

  10. O. H. Tuovinen M. Silver P. A. W. Martin P. R. Dugan (1980) The Agnew Lake uranium mine leach liquor: chemical examinations, bacterial enumeration, and composition of plasmid DNA of iron oxidizing Thiobacillus Proceedings of the International Conference on the Use of Microorganism in Hydrometallurgy Hungarian Academy of Science Hungary

    Google Scholar 

  11. D. Chandra A. K. Mishra (1990) Removal of sulfur from Assam coal by bacterial means Bioprocessing and Biotreatment of Coal Northeastern University Boston

    Google Scholar 

  12. O. Martinez et al. (1995) Desulfurization of coals from the north of Leon (Spain). Optimization of process variables Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Coal Science Oviedo Spain

    Google Scholar 

  13. A. Aller and O. Martinez, “Biodesulfurization of coal by microorganisms isolated from the coal itself,” Fuel Proc. Tech. J., 69 (2001).

  14. A. Moran, et al., “Microbiological desulfurization of column-packed coal,” Fuel Proc. Tech. J., 52 (1997).

  15. N. Orisi, G. Rossi, P. Trios, P. D. Valenti, and A. Zecchin, Resour. Conserv. Recycl., No. 5 (1991).

  16. A. Moran, A. Aller, A. Cara, O. Martinez, J. P. Encinas, and E. Gomez, Fuel Proc. Technol. J., 52 (1997).

  17. R. Gordon, “Advanced coal cleaning technology,” IEA Coal Res., No. 44 (1991).

  18. International Standard, IS0 334, Solid Mineral Fuels-Determination of Total Sulfur-Eschka Method (1992).

  19. International Standard, IS0 157, Coal-Determination of Forms of Sulfur, (1992).

  20. E. Jorjani, B. Rezai, M. Vossoughi, M. Osanloo, and M. Abdollahi, “The characterization studies of Tabas coal from desulfurization point of view,” Int. J. Eng. Sc., Iran University of Science and Technology (2003).

  21. G. Olsson, O. Holst, and H. T. Karlson, “Microbial desulfurization of different coal types,” Coal Sc., No. 1 (1995).

  22. S. Ratanakandilok, S. Ngamprasertsith, and P. Prasassarakich, “Coal desulfurization with methanov/water and methanol/KOH,” Fuel, 80 (2001).

  23. C. Acharya, R N. Kar, and L. B. Sukla, “Bacterial removal of sulfur from three different coals,” Fuel, 80 (2001).

  24. C. M. Detz and G. Barvinchak, “Microbial desulfurization of coal,” Miner Cong., No. 7 (1979).

  25. M. Beyer, H. G. Ebner, and J. Klein, “Influence of pulp density and bioreactor design on microbial desulfurization of coal,” Appl. Micr. Biot., No. 24 (1986).

  26. G. R. Chaudhury, Microbial Desulfurization of Coal with Emphasis on Inorganic Sulfur. Biological Degradation and Bioremediation of Toxic Chemicals (1994).

  27. C. A. Eligwe, “Microbial desulfurization of coal,” Fuel, No. 67 (1998).

  28. P. L. Singer and W. Stumm, “Acidic mine darinage: the rate determining step,” Science, 167 (1970).

  29. A. F. Baker and K. J. Miller, “Hydrolized metal ions as pyrite depressants in coal flotation: a laboratory study,” Report of Investigation No. 7518, US Bureau of Mines (1971).

  30. M. P. Silverman, R. H. Rogoff, and I. Wender, “Removal of pyrite sulfur from coal by bacterial action,” Fuel, No. 1 (1962).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Translated from Fiziko-Tekhnicheskie Problemy Razrabotki Poleznykh Iskopaemykh, No. 3, pp. 101–112 May–June, 2004.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jorjani, E., Rezai, B., Vossoughi, M. et al. Biodesulfurization of the Tabas deposit coal by microorganisms. J Min Sci 40, 310–320 (2004).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

  • Biodesulfurization
  • Tabas deposit coal
  • pyrite
  • Thiobacillus ferrooxidans