Biochemical rust removal by Thiobacillus ferrooxidans

Kuniki Kino*, Nobuyuki Sugimoto, Kazuhiko Kuroda, Shoji Usami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Biochemical removal of rust from iron surfaces has been investigated. By immersing a rusted iron plate in the culture medium of an iron-oxidizing bacterium, Thiobacillus ferrooxidans, iron adjacent to the rust was dissolved and the rust was peeled off. Since the amount of dissolved iron per unit iron plate surface area correlated with the concentration of ferric iron in the culture medium, the formation of ferric iron is probably involved in dissolving the iron as is the case for bacterial leaching. In the present study, rust removal in a "continuous" system in which the culture medium was circulated from the fermentor to the rust removal vessel and back again to the fermentor, has also been investigated. Although growth inhibition was observed with the formation of ferric iron precipitates during the operation in this system, it was possible to prevent this precipitation by lowering the pH of the medium during the mixed cultivation of T. ferrooxidans and a sulfur-oxidizing bacterium, T. thiooxidans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-132
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1981 Jun 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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