Anaerobic Biological Reduction of Selenate

by Lawrence P. Owens, Univ of Texas at Austin, United States,
Joseph F. Malina, Jr., Univ of Texas at Austin, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Environmental Engineering


When soils with high concentrations of naturally-occuring selenium are irrigated and drained, selenium is leached from the soil and appears in the drainage water. Selenium has caused death and deformity among birds nesting in wetlands receiving agricultural drainage water. Selenate, the predominant form of selenium in agricultural drainage water, is a chemical analog of sulfate and has been shown to enter the biochemical pathways of sulfate. Efficient reduction of selenate will occur in a laboratory-scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor in which a population of sulfate-reducing bacteria is established.

Subject Headings: Anaerobic processes | Selenium | Drainage | Biological processes | Sulfates | Bacteria | Soil water

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