Biodegradation of cyanide containing effluents by Scenedesmus obliquus

J Hazard Mater. 2009 Feb 15;162(1):74-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2008.05.008. Epub 2008 May 9.


Biological degradation of cyanide has been shown a viable and robust process for degrading cyanide in mining process wastewaters. Several algal cultures can effectively degrade cyanide as carbon and/or nitrogen source for their growth. In this study, cyanide effluent degradation by Scenedesmus obliquus was examined. Gold mill effluents containing WAD cyanide concentration of 77.9mg/L was fed to batch unit to examine the ability of S. obliquus for degrading cyanide. Cyanide was reduced down to 6mg/L in 77h. Microbial growth and metal uptake of Zn, Fe and Cu was examined during cyanide degradation. The cells well adapted to high pH and the effluent contained cyanide and the metals. It is important that Zn level reduced down 50%, of the starting concentration. pH was kept at 10.3 to prevent loss of cyanide as HCN, due its volatile nature. The bio treatment process was considered to be successful in degrading cyanide in the mine process water.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biodegradation, Environmental*
  • Calibration
  • Cyanides / metabolism*
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Industrial Waste / analysis*
  • Metallurgy
  • Metals / metabolism
  • Mining
  • Scenedesmus / drug effects
  • Scenedesmus / growth & development
  • Scenedesmus / metabolism*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Cyanides
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Industrial Waste
  • Metals
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Gold