Masters Theses


"During coal and iron mining, pyrite is often exposed to oxygen, causing acid mine drainage (AMD). Acid mine drainage has characteristic traits of: a rust color, low pH levels (around 3 or 4) and high concentrations of sulfate, metal sulfates and heavy metals.

Sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) are often utilized in acid mine drainage treatment by implementing them into biochemical reactors (BCR). As SRB break down various carbon sources, bicarbonate is produced, raising the pH and generating hydrogen sulfide which reacts with numerous metals. This approach can be troublesome, as SRBs do not thrive at low pH levels often associated with AMD.

Previous studies have found acidophilic sulfate reducing bacteria (aSRB) able to reduce sulfate and remove metals at pH values as low as 3.25. However these studies often use easily degradable carbon sources like ethanol, lactic acid and glycerol. In the present study, various solid carbon sources at a pH range of 3.0 to 6.0, high and low sulfate concentration, and media that provided either sulfate or iron as an electron acceptor were tested. Of the five carbon sources, sweet potato and horse manure resulted in black precipitate, indicating possible sulfate reduction. To mimic a BCR, column studies were conducted. After flowing pH 3.5 to 4.0 synthetic AMD through the upflow columns for 117 days, pH was raised to between 6.0 and 7.0. Sulfate reduction was evident in one column containing sweet potato and inoculum, but no others were active in this ongoing study. A leading hypothesis is that complete reduction was inhibited by the presence of fermenting bacteria."--Abstract, page iii.


Burken, Joel G. (Joel Gerard)

Committee Member(s)

Fitch, Mark W.
Mormile, Melanie R.
Wronkiewicz, David J.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Environmental Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology. Environmental Research Center


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2014


x, 70 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 67-69).


© 2014 Elise Fay Kittrell, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Acid mine drainage
Anaerobic bacteria
Sulfate-reducing bacteria
Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors
Acid mine drainage -- Purification

Thesis Number

T 10457

Electronic OCLC #