University of Oulu

Hanna Virpiranta, Sanna Taskila, Tiina Leiviskä, Jouko Vepsäläinen, Jaakko Rämö, Juha Tanskanen; Biological sulfate removal with low-cost carbon sources using cold-acclimated bacteria. Journal of Water and Climate Change 1 December 2021; 12 (8): 3544–3557. doi:

Biological sulfate removal with low-cost carbon sources using cold-acclimated bacteria

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Author: Virpiranta, Hanna1; Taskila, Sanna1; Leiviskä, Tiina1;
Organizations: 1Chemical Process Engineering, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: IWA Publishing, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-17


The main goal of this study was to develop a cost-efficient biological method for the removal of sulfate from mining effluents in cold conditions. A consortium of cold-tolerant sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) was tested at 6 °C regarding the utilization of economically viable, low-cost carbon sources, i.e., whey, conditioned sewage sludge, and peat, in the removal of sulfate from synthetic mining water. Succinate was used as a reference carbon source. Of all the studied low-cost carbon sources, conditioned sewage sludge proved to be the most efficient. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy revealed that sewage sludge contained propionic acid, which proved to be utilizable by SRB under cold conditions. Peat both adsorbed the sulfate and acted as a nutrient source in the sulfate reduction process. When whey was used as a carbon source, only a slight decrease in sulfate concentration was detected. Succinate was found to work in a truly predictable and efficient way as a carbon source in biological sulfate reduction, even at the lowest concentration tested. The use of conditioned sewage sludge increased the bacterial diversity in liquid cultivations significantly. However, the number of SRB was highest in the succinate cultivations.

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Series: Journal of water and climate change
ISSN: 2040-2244
ISSN-E: 2408-9354
ISSN-L: 2040-2244
Volume: 12
Issue: 8
Pages: 3544 - 3557
DOI: 10.2166/wcc.2021.350
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 219 Environmental biotechnology
Funding: The study was conducted as part of the Comprehensive Sulphate Management in Cold Mining Waters (COSUMA) research project (grant number 295050), funded by the Academy of Finland. The study was also part of the Supporting Environmental, Economic and Social Impacts of Mining Activity (KO1030 SEESIMA) research project and received financial support from the Kolarctic CBC (Cross-Border Collaboration), the European Union, Russia, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the authors at the University of Oulu, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the participating countries. The authors wish to thank the Biocenter Oulu Sequencing Center for the 16S rRNA sequencing services.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 295050
Detailed Information: 295050 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 4.0), which permits copying, adaptation and redistribution, provided the original work is properly cited (