Selective Flocculation Of Hydrophobic Minerals Similar To Coal Using The Hydrophobic Bacterium, Mycobacterium phlei
Many microorganisms will selectively adhere to mineral surfaces if the charge and hydrophobic interactions between mineral and organism allow. In this study, Mycobacterium phlei, known to have high surface charge and hydrophobicity, was used to test the hypothesis that the attachment of M.phlei to hydrophobic minerals is due to hydrophobic interactions. Flocculation tests showed that the microorganism did in fact adhere to the hydrophobic minerals and the hydrophobicity of the individual minerals increased with the addition of M. phlei to the system. If coulombic charges were involved, these interactions would not allow the adhesion of two negatively charged particles. Therefore, the results suggest that one explanation could be that hydrophobic interactions are playing a key role in adhesion.