Organomercurial removal from vaccine production wastewaters in a supported liquid membrane bioreactor

Raquel Fortunato, C. M. Afonso, J. G. Crespo, M. A. Reis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Vaccine production effluents are strongly polluted with thiomersal, a highly toxic organomercurial compound, for which there is presently no remediation technology available. This work describes a new remediation process based on the extraction of thiomersal from the wastewater to a biological compartment, where it is degraded by a microbial strain. The selective extraction of thiomersal is achieved by using an ionic liquid immobilized in a porous membrane. In the biological compartment, thiomersal is degraded to metallic mercury, under aerobic conditions, by a Pseudomonas putida strain. The utilization of ionic liquids in supported liquid membranes for thiomersal transport, and the kinetics of thiomersal biodegradation by a Pseudomonas putida strain are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalCommunications In Agricultural And Applied Biological Sciences
Issue number2 Pt A
Publication statusPublished - 2003



  • Mercury
  • Bioremediation
  • mer operon

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