Bacterial leaching of metal sulfides proceeds by two indirect mechanisms via thiosulfate or via polysulfides and sulfur

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
A Schippers, Wolfgang Sand


The acid-insoluble metal sulfides FeS2, MoS2, and WS2 are chemically attacked by iron(III) hexahydrate ions, generating thiosulfate, which is oxidized to sulfuric acid. Other metal sulfides are attacked by iron(III) ions and by protons, resulting in the formation of elemental sulfur via intermediary polysulfides. Sulfur is biooxidized to sulfuric acid. This explains leaching of metal sulfides by Thiobacillus thiooxidans.


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Related Concepts

Sulfuric acid
Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans
Thiosulfate [Antidotes]

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