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Abhishek. R. Shivappagowdar, Nathiya T, and Anand Prem Rajan*


Life on earth evolved because of Sulfur as debated by many scholars. The anthropogenic sulfur released in the environment has started a visious cycle in the nature. Reckoned Sulfur is a yellow crystalline solid that occurs in nature as a pure element or as sulfide and sulfate minerals. It is a multivalent non-metal that is abundant, tasteless and odorless. The major derivative of sulfur is sulfuric acid (H2SO4), one of the most important elements used as an industrial raw material, it is of central importance to the world's economies, its production and consumption is an indicator of a nation's industrial development. But when sulfur burns in air, it produces sulfur dioxide, the emissions of which cause adverse impacts to vegetation, including forests and agricultural crops. Hence a careful extraction of sulfur from the natural bodies is necessary. Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans is a Gram-negative bacterium which is abundant in natural environments associated with pyritic ore bodies, coal deposits and their acidified drainages. It is an important member of microbial consortia used to recover copper via a process known as bioleaching or biomining. It is capable of anaerobic growth on elemental sulfur, using ferric iron as an electron acceptor. This ability of A.ferrooxidans to grow under anaerobic conditions is relevant to its application in biohydrometallurgy. For very low-grade metal sulfide ores that cannot be economically recovered using traditional metallurgical methods, the use of bioleaching is a environmental friendly alternative for the metallurgical industry. In this review, the sulfur production, its effects on the environment and the role Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans in sulfur bioleaching is discussed. Furthermore, the closely related species of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans are also considered.

Keywords: Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, Sulfur, Bioleaching.

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