Biological desulfurization of coal by mesophilic and thermophilic microorganisms

D. Bhattacharyya, M. Hsieh, H. Francis, R. I. Kermode, A. M. Khalid, H. M.I. Aleem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The biological desulfurization of coals was studied with pure cultures of mesophilic (Thiobacillus ferrooxidans and T. thioodixans) or thermophilic (Sulfolobus brierleyi) bacteria and acid mine water. These microorganisms were used with coals ranging in sulfur contents from 2 to 6%. The extent of removal of sulfur, ash and iron from coal was analyzed in terms of total sulfur, pyritic sulfur, organic sulfur, ash content, and liquid phase iron concentration. With S. brierleyi, CO2-enriched air resulted in a substantial increase in initial desulfirization rate of pyrite. With acclimated S. brierleyi, 15 to 20% organic sulfur removal was observed. Low-temperature Mössbauer spectroscopy data on iron phases in biotreated coal established that superparamagnetic iron oxyhydroxide (FeOOH) and jarosite were reprecipitated from solution onto the coal particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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