Importance of extracellular polymeric substances from Thiobacillus ferrooxidans for bioleaching.
Leaching bacteria such as Thiobacillus ferrooxidans attach to pyrite or sulfur by means of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) (lipopolysaccharides). The primary attachment to pyrite at pH 2 is mediated by exopolymer-complexed iron (III) ions in an electrochem. interaction with the neg. charged pyrite surface. EPS from sulfur cells possess increased hydrophobic properties and do not attach to pyrite, indicating adaptability to the substrate or substratum.
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