Bioleaching: An innovative biotechnology for recovery of metals from electronic wastes.


Miriam Anguiano, Carlos E. Lopez, Miriam P. Luevanos & Nagamani Balagurusamy*

Laboratorio de Biorremediación, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, Torreón Coahuila, México.


Every year, more than 40 million metric tons of electronic wastes are discarded worldwide and these wastes represent a problem due to their improper treatment. Presence of metals, plastics and ceramics in these wastes pose a threat for health and environment. Pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy are employed for metal extraction from these wastes. However, of late, bioleaching is emerging one of the alternatives for recovery of metals. Chemolithotrophic bacterial strains are used and they accomplish bioleaching either by direct or indirect mechanisms. This review deals on the potential bacterial strains, their mechanism of action, factors involved, limitations and perspectives on bioleaching.