Bioleaching of electronic waste

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Department of Microbiology, Annasaheb Magar Mahavidyalaya, Hadapasar, Pune, Maharashtra, India

2 Department of Microbiology, Dr. D.Y. Patil, Arts, Commerce and Science College, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India


Increase in advanced electronic technology leads to environmental issues related with its disposal. Electronic waste i.e., video card and random access memory were used for studying extraction of precious metals using Paenibacillus sp. Metal contaminated soil was used for the isolation of exopolysaccharide producing strains. The isolate was identified as Paenibacillus sp. based on morphological, biochemical tests and 16S rRNA sequencing. Metal content analysis of soil and e-waste was carried out using X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy. The vanadium element was more in the soil sample which was 0.487 mg/g and in electronic waste sample copper content was more which was 250 mg/g. Paenibacillus sp. produced capsule which was observed under bright, dark field and phase contrast microscope. Scanning electron microscopy was done for the study of morphological changes of exopolysaccharide producing Paenibacillus sp. in chitin broth and on chitin agar medium with and without e-waste. The Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy analysis of exopolysaccharide produced by Paenibacillus sp. grown on chitin agar and chitin agar with e-waste showed presence of different functional groups. The one step and two step bioleaching experiments were carried out for testing efficacy of biomass on metal leaching. Paenibacillus sp. showed its potential for the extraction of precious metals viz., gold, silver and copper from electronic waste. Paenibacillus sp. recovered gold (0.001%), cadmium (45%), copper (50%), iron (46%), manganese (88%), palladium (56.9%) and zinc (87.12%) by two step fermentation. The study is useful for the bioleaching of precious metals from electronic waste.


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