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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Formation of water-soluble metal cyanide complexes from solid minerals by Pseudomonas plecoglossicida.

A few Pseudomonas species are able to form hydrocyanic acid (HCN), particularly when grown under glycine-rich conditions. In the presence of metals, cyanide can form water-soluble metal complexes of high chemical stability. We studied the possibility to mobilize metals as cyanide complexes from solid minerals using HCN-forming microorganisms. Pseudomonas plecoglossicida was cultivated in the presence of copper- and nickel-containing solid minerals. On powdered elemental nickel, fast HCN generation within the first 12 h of incubation was observed and water-soluble tetracyanaonickelate was formed. Cuprite, tenorite, chrysocolla, malachite, bornite, turquoise, millerite, pentlandite as well as shredded electronic scrap was also subjected to a biological treatment. Maximum concentrations of cyanide-complexed copper corresponded to a solubilization of 42% and 27% when P. plecoglossicida was grown in the presence of cuprite or tenorite, respectively. Crystal system, metal oxidation state and mineral hydrophobicity might have a significant influence on metal mobilization. However, it was not possible to allocate metal mobilization to a single mineral property. Cyanide-complexed gold was detected during growth on manually cut circuit boards. Maximum dicyanoaurate concentration corresponded to a 68.5% dissolution of the total gold added. These findings represent a novel type of microbial mobilization of nickel and copper from solid minerals based on the ability of certain microbes to form HCN.[1]


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