The inhibitory effect of antimicrobial zeolite on the biofilm of Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans

Biodegradation. 2010 Feb;21(1):123-34. doi: 10.1007/s10532-009-9287-6. Epub 2009 Jul 19.


The inhibitory effect of antimicrobial zeolite coated concrete specimens (Z2) against Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans was studied by measuring biomass dry cell weight (DCW), biological sulphate generation, and oxygen uptake rates (OURs). Uncoated (UC), and blank zeolite coated without antimicrobial agent (ZC) concrete specimens were used as controls. The study was undertaken by exposing inoculated basal nutrient medium (BNM) to the various specimens. The coating material was prepared by mixing zeolite, epoxy and cure with ratios, by weight of 2:2:1. Concrete specimens were characterized before and after exposure to inoculated or sterile BNM by field emission-scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). Gypsum, which was absent in the other test concrete specimens, was detected in uncoated specimens exposed to the bacterium. In UC and ZC, the growth of the bacteria increased throughout the duration of the experiment. However, significant biomass inhibition was observed in experiments where Z2 was used. The overall biomass growth rate in suspension before the specimens were placed ranged from 3.18 to 3.5 mg DCW day(-1). After the bacterium was exposed to UC and ZC, growth continued with a corresponding value of 4 + or - 0.4 and 5.5 + or - 0.6 mg DCW day(-1), respectively. No biomass growth was observed upon exposure of the bacterium to Z2. Similarly, while biological sulphur oxidation rates in UC and ZC were 88 + or - 13 and 238 + or - 25 mg SO(4)(2-) day(-1), respectively, no sulphate production was observed in experiments where Z2 concrete specimens were used. Peak OURs for UC and ZC ranged from 2.6 to 5.2 mg l(-1) h(-1), and there was no oxygen uptake in those experiments where Z2 was used. The present study revealed that the antimicrobial zeolite inhibits the growth of both planktonic as well as biofilm populations of Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans / drug effects
  • Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans / growth & development
  • Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans / physiology*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biomass
  • Zeolites / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Zeolites