04.02.2022

Biorremediation of sulfated acidic water from the edible oil industry

The effluents from industries processing vegetable oils are extremely rich in sulfates, often exceeding the maximum concentration allowed to release them to the environment. Biological sulfate reduction is a promising alternative for the removal of sulfates in this type of wastewater, which has other particularities such as an acidic pH.

At DARWIN we have developed, together with Alicorp (one of the largest edible oil industries in Peru), a biological treatment based on SRB (sulfate reducing bacteria) capable of removing more than 30% of the sulfates in these polluted waters.

 

What do we observe, then, in this erlenmeyer? Inside it contains acidic lipid-rich wastewater from an edible oil industry. This wastewater has a high concentration of sulfates. To bioremediate it, we add a microbial consortium with Desulfovibrio spp. as one of the key players. These bacteria use sulfates to grow and transform it into hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This molecule in combination with iron ions, forms iron sulfide (FeS), which causes the liquid to turn black. Through this process, the concentration of sulfates in the water is reduced