The role of microorganisms in dispersion of thallium compounds in the environment
Thallium is a highly toxic element and very rarely studied in the context of environmental hazards connected with zinc and non-ferrous metal industry. Microorganisms naturally existing in post-flotation and smelt wastes can participate in thallium release from waste deposits and can contribute to its dispersion in the environment. Twenty-one isolates were obtained from wastes of a non-ferrous smelter in Southern Poland characterised by high heavy metal contamination. Ten isolates showed high activity in thallium leaching from wastes (post-flotation and smelt wastes) as well as from pure thallous sulphide. Additionally, cadmium and lead were bioleached from wastes. The isolated bacteria indicated thallium resistance at a concentration up to 100 mg/l and some of them were able to survive in good condition at a concentration of up to 4 g/l. The same bacteria were isolated from rivers and wastewater in this region. A preliminary characterisation of isolates was performed. It was shown that some petroleum products i.e. asphalt-base crude occasionally used for waste immobilisation at the edge of pond or flotation surfactants partially stopped the activity of sulphide oxidising bacteria.
- Asami T., C. Mizui, T. Shimada and M. Kubota. 1996. Determination of thallium in soils by flame atomie absorption spectrometry. J. Anal. Chem. 356: 348-351.
- Dmowski K., A. Kozakiewicz and M. Kozakiewicz. 2002. Search for thalium in the areas of southern Poland by means of bioindication methods. Kosmos. 51: 151-163
- Galizzi M. and E. Ferrari. 1976. Identification of thiobacilli by replica plating on thallous sulfide paper. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 32: 433-435
- Kelly D.P. and A.P. Wood. 2000. Reclassification of some species of Thiobacillus to the newly designed genera: Acidithiobacillus gen nov., Halothiobacillus gen. nov., and Thermithiobacillus gen. nov. Int. J. Syst. Evolution. Microbiol. 50: 511-516.
- Schedlbauer O.F. and K.G. Heumann. 2000. Biomethylation of thallium by bacteria and first determination of biogenic dimethylthallium in the ocean. Appl. Organometal. Chem. 14: 330-340.
- Skłodowska A., R. Matlakowska and W. Ludwig. 1996. Unusual bacterial strain closely related to Bacillus insolitus. Acta Microbiol. Polon. 45: 131-141.
- Tuovinen O.H. and D.P. Kelly. 1973. Studies on growth of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans. Arch. Microbiol. 111: 257-263.