Analytical Investigations of Liberated Organics after Biodegradation of Lignite Samples

Rizwan Haider, Muhammad Afzal Ghauri, Khurram Shahzad, John R SanFilipo, Elizabeth J Jones

Abstract


Biological processing of low rank coals can expedite the role of coal as a chemical feedstock in terms of extracting the value added chemical entities like soil conditioning agents and alternative fuel options like methane. However, there is a need to determine the exact nature of the liberated organics using state-of-the-art analytical facilities for prospecting the subsequent application of these organics. In this regard, a representative sample of Thar coalfield of Pakistan, was subjected to biological degradation using a fungal strain HC-1, which was isolated from a brown coal sample. The liberated organics were filtered and analyzed through Excitation-Emission Matric Spectroscopy (EEMS) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) for establishing a detailed profile of the nature of released organics. These analyses indicated the presence of a variety of organics, thus highlighting single ring aromatics, aromatic nitrogen compounds and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as major classes of compounds. Eventually, this degradation and release of significant aromatic structures indicated the susceptibility of the sample form Thar coalfield to biological degradation and further processing on these organics like methanogenesis can be prospected for exploiting the alternative use of such unattended huge resources of low rank coals.

Keywords


coal degradation, coal-based soil conditioners; biological beneficiation

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