Biological and Enzymatic Reactors

About the lab

The research group “Biological and Enzymatic Reactors” (TEP-105) was founded/established in 1993 under the first “Andalusian Research Plan” (Plan Andaluz de Investigación, Desarrollo Tecnológico e Innovación). The principal aim of the research carried out by our group is to study biological processes in order to establish alternative technologies to conventional chemical procedures.
Four research lines have been developed throughout this period :

- Biodesulphurization and biofiltration of effluents gases.
- Production of value-added compounds by biological processes.
- Bioremediation of contaminated soils and/or sludges with heavy metals.
- Process optimization of acetic fermentation.

Featured research (1)

Acid bioleaching of Al by Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans has been explored as an environmentally friendly pretreatment to facilitate the extraction of platinum group metals from spent three-way catalysts (TWC). Biogenic sulfur obtained from desulfurization bioreactors improved the production of acid by A. thiooxidans compared to commercially available elemental sulfur. The lixiviation abilities of bacteria-free biogenic acid and biogenic acid with exponential or stationary phase bacteria were compared against a control batch produced by commercial H2SO4. The maximum Al leaching percentage (54.5%) was achieved using biogenic acids with stationary-phase bacteria at a TWC pulp density of 5% w/v whereas bacteria-free biogenic acid (23.4%), biogenic acid with exponential phase bacteria (21.7%) and commercial H2SO4 (24.7%) showed lower leaching abilities. The effect of different pulp densities of ground TWC (5, 30, and 60% w/v) on Al leaching and bacterial growth was determined. While greater Al leaching yields were obtained at lower TWC pulp density solutions (54.5% at 5% w/v and 2.5% at 60% w/v), higher pulp densities enhanced microbial growth (2.3 × 109 cells/mL at 5% w/v and 9.5 × 1010 cells/mL at 60% w/v). The dissolution of the metal from the solid into the liquid phase triggered the production of biological polymeric substances that were able to absorb traces of both Al (up to 24.80% at 5% w/v) and Pt (up to 0.40% at 60% w/v).

Lab head

Cantero D
  • Department of Chemical Engineering and Food Technology

Members (11)

Martín Ramírez
  • Universidad de Cádiz
J. M. Gómez
  • Universidad de Cádiz
Gema Cabrera
  • Universidad de Cádiz
Antonio Valle Gallardo
  • Universidad de Cádiz
Fernando Almenglo
  • Universidad de Cádiz
José Antonio Callejo López
  • Universidad de Cádiz
J. J. González-Cortés
  • Ghent University