The adhesion behavior of Ferroplasma acidiphilum archaeon to pyrite mineral was investigated experimentally and theoretically. F. acidiphilum showed high affinity to adhere to pyrite surface at acidic regions, however low affinity was observed at neutral and alkaline regions. The microbe-mineral adhesion was assessed by the extended DLVO theory. Hamaker constants, electron donors, electron acceptors and surface charges for the microbe and the mineral were experimentally determined. The extended DLVO theory was used to explain the adhesion results. Significant changes to the pyrite surface properties after being treated with the microbial cells were observed. Pyrite lost its hydrophobic nature and became hydrophilic, the contact angle of untreated pyrite was 61° and this decreased to 36° after the treatment. As a consequence, the flotation experiment results showed that F. acidiphilum strain could act as a good depressant for pyrite in xanthat flotation; where in absence of F. acidiphilum cells, over 95% of pyrite can be recovered as a float. However, when the mineral was pretreated with F. acidiphilum cells, less than 20% can be recovered as a float.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry