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MEI Online: Biotechnology: Latest News: September 16th 2002


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:: Bacterial Selenium Removal

US-based Applied Biosciences Corp. reports that its selenium-removal plant has demonstrated its ability to function effectively all year round. The plant has been installed at the Wharf mine, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, owned by Goldcorp Inc. The treatment plant came on-stream in the December quarter of 2001, and has proved successful in reducing contained selenium levels to below detection-limits from mine waters, prior to discharge into a local river.

The Applied Biosciences' process uses patented and proprietary technologies involving the use of naturally-occurring microbes and specially-developed blends of nutrients to remove the selenium. Contaminated waters pass through a fixed-bed anaerobic bioreactor containing a 'cocktail' of bacteria which has been optimised for the recovery of selected contaminants. The company's BSeRô process removes the selenium at a cost of US$1.00 per 31,541 litres of contaminated water. The selenium is back flushed from the reactor for disposal or resale. At the Wharf mine, Applied Biosciences Corp. has also supplied a plant that degrades nitrate to nitrogen gas in a two-stage process, and another treatment plant that precipitates dissolved arsenic as a sulphide. The company says that it also offers a process to degrade cyanide.


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