A biogeochemical framework for metal detoxification in sulfidic systems

Alex O. Schwarz, Bruce Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We develop a comprehensive biogeochemical framework for understanding and quantitatively evaluating metals bio-protection in sulfidic microbial systems. We implement the biogeochemical framework in CCBATCH by expanding its chemical equilibrium and biological sub-models for surface complexation and the formation of soluble and solid products, respectively. We apply the expanded CCBATCH to understand the relative importance of the various key ligands of sulfidic systems in Zn detoxification. Our biogeochemical analysis emphasizes the relative importance of sulfide over other microbial products in Zn detoxification, because the sulfide yield is an order of magnitude higher than that of other microbial products, while its reactivity toward metals also is highest. In particular, metal-titration simulations using the expanded CCBATCH in a batch mode illustrate how sulfide detoxifies Zn, controlling its speciation as long as total sulfide is greater than added Zn. Only in the absence of sulfide does complexation of Zn to biogenic organic ligands play a role in detoxification. Our biogeochemical analysis conveys fundamental insight on the potential of the key ligands of sulfidic systems to effect Zn detoxification. Sulfide stands out for its reactivity and prevalence in sulfidic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-692
Number of pages18
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Bio-protection
  • Biogeochemical model
  • Metal detoxification
  • Metal speciation
  • Sulfidic systems
  • Toxic metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Microbiology
  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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