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Microbially induced separation of quartz from hematite using yeast cells and metabolites

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2012, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 81-87

Natarajan, K. A.; Padukone, S. Usha


The utility of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in the separation of quartz from hematite is demonstrated. Yeast cells, as well as their metabolites, functioned as flotation collectors, depressants or flocculants and dispersants for hematite and quartz. Interaction between yeast and the above minerals resulted in significant surface chemical changes, rendering quartz surfaces hydrophobic and hematite hydrophilic. Mineral-specific extracellular proteins and exopolysaccharides were secreted by yeast cells when grown in the presence of quartz and hematite, respectively. Quartz could be efficiently separated from hematite through microbially induced flotation and selective flocculation.