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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 9384767, 7 pages
Research Article

Synergy between Rhizobium phaseoli and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans in the Bioleaching Process of Copper

1College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 610500, China
2Oil and Gas Field Applied Chemistry Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu 610500, China
3College of Resource and Environment Science, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China

Received 14 September 2015; Revised 4 December 2015; Accepted 10 January 2016

Academic Editor: Weiqi Fu

Copyright © 2016 Xuecheng Zheng and Dongwei Li. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study investigates the synergy of Rhizobium phaseoli and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans in the bioleaching process of copper. The results showed that additional R. phaseoli could increase leaching rate and cell number of A. ferrooxidans. When the initial cell number ratio between A. ferrooxidans and R. phaseoli was 2 : 1, A. ferrooxidans attained the highest final cell number of approximately 2 × 108 cells/mL and the highest copper leaching rate of 29%, which is 7% higher than that in the group with A. ferrooxidans only. R. phaseoli may use metabolized polysaccharides from A. ferrooxidans, and organic acids could chelate or precipitate harmful heavy metals to reduce their damage on A. ferrooxidans and promote its growth. Organic acids could also damage the mineral lattice to increase the leaching effect.