Determination of the elemental composition of molasses and its suitability as carbon source for growth of sulphate-reducing bacteria

Discipline of Microbiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, 3209, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Journal of Hazardous Materials (Impact Factor: 4.53). 06/2008; 161(2-3):1157-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2008.04.120
Source: PubMed


Bioremediation of arsenic-contaminated water could be a cost-effective process provided a cheap carbon source is used. In this work molasses was tested as a possible source of carbon for the growth of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Its elemental composition and the tolerance of SRB toward different arsenic species (As (III) and As (V)) were also investigated. Batch studies were carried out to assess the suitability of 1, 2.5 and 5 g/l molasses concentrations for SRB growth. The results indicated that molasses does support SRB growth, the level of response being dependant on the concentration. The percentage of sulphate reduction with molasses at 1, 2.5 and 5 g/l was not significantly different. However, growth on molasses was not as good as that obtained when lactate was used as carbon source. Molasses contained the heavy metals Al, As, Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn in concentrations of 0.54, 0.24, 8.7, 0.35, 11.1 and 19.7 microg/g, respectively. Arsenic tolerance, growth response and sulphate-reducing activity of the SRB were investigated using arsenite and arsenate solutions at final concentrations of 1, 5 and 20 mg/l for each species. The results revealed that very little SRB growth occurred at concentrations of 20 mg/l As(III) or As(V). At lower concentrations (1 mg/l) the SRB grew better with As(V) than with As(III). Arsenic pollution in most groundwater sources is below this level (1 mg/l).

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