Accelerating bauxite residue remediation with microbial biotechnology

T. C. Santini, K. Warren, M. Raudsepp, N. Carter, D. Hamley, C. McCosker, S. Couperthwaite, G. Southam, G. W. Tyson, L. A. Warren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Biological neutralisation of pH, driven by the microbial fermentation of added organic carbon substrates such as glucose, has recently emerged as a promising technique for remediation of bauxite residue, dropping pH from >11 to <8 in five days. Here, we report on a glasshouse experiment combining this novel microbially-driven pH neutralisation technology with other existing (abiotic) remediation approaches, including addition of gypsum, sewage sludge, and irrigation. Scaling up the bioremediation treatment by three orders of magnitude from previous laboratory trials to these glasshouse trials was successful. Adding bioremediated residue (5 cm thick) at the residue surface significantly enhanced pH neutralisation to depth, decreasing pH from 13 to ~10 as far as 25 cm below the residue surface. Increasing irrigation and tillage frequency accelerated salt removal. Combining our microbial bioneutralisation treatment with fortnightly tillage and daily irrigation provided the best opportunity to rapidly decrease pH and salinity, and is currently being trialled at field scale.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLight Metals, 2019
EditorsCorleen Chesonis
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-05864-7
ISBN (Print)9783030058630
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventLight Metals Symposium held at the TMS Annual Meeting and Exhibition, 2019 - San Antonio, United States
Duration: 10 Mar 201914 Mar 2019

Publication series

NameMinerals, Metals and Materials Series
ISSN (Print)2367-1181
ISSN (Electronic)2367-1696


ConferenceLight Metals Symposium held at the TMS Annual Meeting and Exhibition, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio


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