FURI | Spring 2022

Lignocellulosic Characterization of a Sulfate-Reducing Biochemical Reactor Treating Mining-Influenced Water

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Sulfate-reducing biochemical reactors (SRBRs) are a passive treatment method for acidic mining-influenced water (MIW) from active and abandoned mine sites. In an SRBR, microbial communities degrade lignocellulosic substrate, producing electron donors for sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Sulfate reduction produces free sulfide and alkalinity, which remove dissolved heavy metals characteristic of MIW as sulfide precipitates and neutralizes acidity. The pathways in which lignocellulose is made available as an organic carbon source for SRB are poorly understood. The current project aims to characterize lignocellulosic degradation throughout an SRBR to gain valuable knowledge of microbial processes for optimization of MIW treatment at mining sites.

Student researcher

Caleb McLaughlin

Caleb Michael McLaughlin

Environmental engineering

Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2022