Taguchi approach significantly increases bioremediation process efficiency: a case study with Hg (II) removal by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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AimOptimization of process parameters for mercury removal by an Hg (II)-reducing Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain.Methods and ResultsA strain of Ps. aeruginosa was found to reduce 10 mg l−1 Hg (II) to Hg0 with 70% efficiency in 24 h. To optimize process performance, a statistical tool – Taguchi design of experiments (DOE) – was used to carry out 18 well-defined experiments (L18 Orthogonal array) with eight variable parameters (viz. agitation, temperature, pH, carbon source, medium volume: flask volume ratio and concentrations of Hg (II), ammonium sulfate and yeast extract). When data obtained were analyzed using specialized software for Taguchi design, Qualitek-4 (Nutek Inc., MI, USA), Hg (II) reduction efficiency was predicted to be 95% in 24 h under the optimized process parameters (also suggested by the software). In the validation experiment, Hg (II) removal of 99·29% in 24 h was indeed obtained.ConclusionsUsing Taguchi DOE, Hg (II) reduction (and hence its removal) using Ps. aeruginosa could be improved by 29·3%.Significance and Impact of the StudyTaguchi approach could be employed as an efficient and time-saving strategy for parameter optimization in bioremediation processes.

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