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Fungal leaching of metals from electronic scrap

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 151-156

Ilyas, Sadia; Lee, Jae-chun


The present study was carried out to develop an economically feasible and environmentally friendly technique to extract metals such as Al, Fe, Cu, Zn and Ni from electronic scrap by employing Penicillium chrysogenum strain KBS3. Studies were carried out in various leaching modes, including one-step leaching with combined growth and leaching phases (Mode 1), two-step leaching with alternative growth and leaching phases (Mode 2), spent medium leaching with separated growth and leaching phases (Mode 3), leaching with fresh growth medium without fungal culture (Mode 4), leaching with deionized water (Mode 5) and leaching with commercial organic acids (Mode 6). The main lixiviants produced in leaching Mode 1 were citric, tartaric, oxalic and gluconic acids in concentrations of 12, 2.5, 1.8 and 152 mM, whereas in leaching Mode 2, the concentrations were 15, 0.5, 1.0 and 1,162 mM, respectively. In leaching Mode 3, 63 mM citric acid, 23 mM tartaric acid and 29 mM oxalic acid was observed. At 5% pulp density, both leaching Modes 1 and 2 showed similar metal extraction yields from the electronic scrap at 35º C. Approximately 96% Al, 98% Zn, 48% Cu, 25% Fe, 66% Pb and 73% Ni were extracted in leaching Mode 1 in 14 days. In leaching Mode 3, 85% Al, 81% Zn, 97% Cu, 22% Fe, 50% Pb and 63% Ni were extracted in 14 days. The extraction yield of Cu was much lower in leaching Modes 1 and 2 (48-50%) than in leaching Mode 3 (97%), as well as in leaching Mode 6 (98%) with organic acids, including citric, tartaric, oxalic and gluconic acids.