Cycling between ferrous and ferric iron

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Bioleaching microbes have enzymes compatible with the aerobic oxidation of Fe2+ to Fe3+:

4Fe2+ + O2 + 4H+ → 4Fe3+ + 2H20

The Fe3+ is a leaching reagent in the subsequent abiotic leaching reaction:

Fe3+ will oxidise the metal sulfide and hence regenerate Fe2+.
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