Microbial recovery of copper from printed circuit boards of waste computer by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans

Moon Sung Choi, Kyung Suk Cho, Dong Su Kim, Dong Jin Kim

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132 Scopus citations


The bioleaching of copper contained in the printed circuit boards (PCB) of waste computers by A. ferrooxidans was studied. The Fe oxidation rates by A. ferrooxidans in the 9K medium supplemented with the leachate of PCB (0.15-0.13 g L-1 d-1) were similar to that in the 9K medium without the leachate (0.15 g L-1 d-1). This finding suggests that the leachate of PCB did not seriously affect the bioleaching process by this bacterium. The amount of copper leached from PCB shreds increased with the addition of ferrous ion and reached up to 5190 mgL-1 when the initial concentration of Fe2+ ion was 7gL-1. As the microbial leaching progressed, pale brown precipitate was observed to form in the solution. Based on the total amount of copper, both in solution and precipitate, the optimal addition of ferrous ion for the leaching of copper was around 7 g L-1. When citric acid was not added, only about 37 wt% of the total leached copper remained dissolved; however, the amount of dissolved copper increased to greater than 80 wt% in the presence of citric acid. This fact indicates that the addition of a complexing agent (citric acid) to the bioleaching solution can raise the solubility of the leached metal ions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2973-2982
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by research grant in Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources.


  • Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans
  • Copper
  • Microbial recovery
  • Printed circuit board
  • Waste computer


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