Water containing cyanide was biologically detoxified with the bacterial strain Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes CECT5344 in a batch reactor. Volatilization of toxic hydrogen cyanide (HCN) was avoided by using an alkaline medium for the treatment. The operational procedure was optimized to assess cyanide biodegradation at variable pH values and dissolved oxygen concentrations. Using an initial pH of 10 without subsequent adjustment allowed total cyanide to be consumed at a mean rate of approximately 2.81 mg CN(-) L(-1) O.D.(-1) h(-1); however, these conditions posed a high risk of HCN formation. Cyanide consumption was found to be pH-dependent. Thus, no bacterial growth was observed with a controlled pH of 10; on the other hand, pH 9.5 allowed up to 2.31 mg CN(-) L(-1) O.D.(-1) h(-1) to be converted. The combination of a high pH and a low dissolved oxygen saturation (10%) minimized the release of HCN. This study contributes new basic knowledge about this biological treatment, which constitutes an effective alternative to available physico-chemical methods for the purification of wastewater containing cyanide or cyano-metal complexes.
2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.