Researchers from the Neutron Physics Laboratory at JINR found that baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has the ability to extract silver and other precious metals from wastewater.

Despite their widespread use, silver compounds are toxic to organisms. Of these, existing wastewater treatment methods are characterized by low efficiency or high cost. One of the most promising is biosorption based on interactions between a metal ion and functional groups on the cell surface.

Russian experts have studied how yeast and silver ions interact in them. It turns out that the biomass remains “highly absorbent” during the three sorption-desorption cycles. The yeast retained a high sorption capacity even at high concentrations of metal ions in solution (about 100 milligrams per liter).

In addition, as the temperature and contact time increased, the yeast more efficiently bound the silver, best in an acidic environment – pH three. The silver ion removal efficiency in this case ranged from 97% to 100%.

Source: Ferra

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