Effects of methanethiol on the biological oxidation of sulfide at natron-alkaline conditions

Pim L.F. Van Den Bosch, Marc Fortuny-Picornell, Albert J.H. Janssen

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    The effects of methanethiol (MT) on biological sulfide oxidation were studied in a continuously operated bioreactor, in which chemolithoautotrophic bacteria belonging to the genus Thioalkalivibrio convert hydrogen sulfide (H2S) at natronalkaline conditions. Previous bioreactor experiments have shown that always a fraction of the H2S is oxidized to sulfate and thiosulfate. This is unwanted, as it leads to caustic requirements for pH control and the formation of a bleed stream to discharge these compounds from the process. The current research shows that due to the addition of MT, sulfate formation is prevented. As a result, all supplied H2S is completely converted into elemental sulfur. Treatment of a continuous supply of 51.0 mM day-1 H2S and 79 μM day-1 MT was feasible for a prolonged period, with 99 mol% selectivity for sulfur formation. A part of the MT reacts with the freshly produced sulfur particles to form dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) and dimethyltrisulfide (DMTS). Results indicate that MT, DMDS, and DMTS partly adsorb onto the biosulfur particles. At concentrations above 10 μM, these volatile organic sulfur compounds induce biomass decay. © 2009 American Chemical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)453-459
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2009


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