A Systems-Based Approach for Cyanide Overproduction by Bacillus megaterium for Gold Bioleaching Enhancement
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2020

With the constant accumulation of electronic waste, extracting precious metals contained therein is becoming a major challenge for sustainable development. Bacillus megaterium is currently one of the microbes used for the production of cyanide, which is the main leaching agent for gold recovery. The present study aimed to propose a strategy for metabolic engineering of B. megaterium to overproduce cyanide, and thus ameliorate the bioleaching process. For this, we employed constraint-based modeling, running in silico simulations on iJA1121, the genome-scale metabolic model of B. megaterium DSM319. Flux balance analysis (FBA) was initially used to identify amino acids to be added to the culture medium. Considering cyanide as the desired product, we used growth-coupled methods, constrained minimal cut sets (cMCSs) and OptKnock to identify gene inactivation targets. To identify gene overexpression targets, flux scanning based on enforced objective flux (FSEOF) was performed. Further analysis was carried out on the identified targets to determine compounds with beneficial regulatory effects. We have proposed a chemical-defined medium for accelerating cyanide production on the basis of microplate assays to evaluate the components with the greatest improving effects. Accordingly, the cultivation of B. megaterium DSM319 in a chemically-defined medium with 5.56 mM glucose as the carbon source, and supplemented with 413 μM cysteine, led to the production of considerably increased amounts of cyanide. Bioleaching experiments were successfully performed in this medium to recover gold and copper from telecommunication printed circuit boards. The results of inductively coupled plasma (ICP) analysis confirmed that gold recovery peaked out at around 55% after 4 days, whereas copper recovery continued to increase for several more days, peaking out at around 85%. To further validate the bioleaching results, FESEM, XRD, FTIR, and EDAX mapping analyses were performed. We concluded that the proposed strategy represents a viable route for improving the performance of the bioleaching processes.

constraint-based modeling


genome-scale metabolic model

chemically-defined medium



Javad Aminian-Dehkordi

Tarbiat Modares University

Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi

Tarbiat Modares University

Sayed Amir Marashi

University of Tehran

Arezou Jafari

Tarbiat Modares University

Ivan Mijakovic

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Systembiologi

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)

Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology

2296-4185 (ISSN)

Vol. 8 528


Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi

Analytisk kemi

Kemiska processer



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