Acidophilic bacteria can be found in natural and anthropogenic acidic environments such as acid sulfate soils and biomining operations. These environments range in temperatures from below zero where low temperature adapted, acidophilic bacteria accelerate metal and acid release from sulfide minerals, through mesophilic environments, to hot solfataric fields containing Hydrogenobaculum acidophilum with a temperature optimum of 65°C. Acidophilic bacteria have been isolated from the Actinobacteria, Aquificae, Firmicutes, Nitropsora, Proteobacteria, and Verrucomicrobia phyla, and are capable of oxidizing both inorganic and organic electron donors coupled to the reduction of oxygen or ferric iron, though no extremely acidophilic bacteria are known to ferment organic substrates. Acidophilic bacteria also exhibit a range of carbon metabolisms, from obligate autotrophs such as Leptospirillum spp., facultative autotrophs such as Sulfobacillus spp. that can both fix carbon dioxide (CO2) or assimilate organic carbon, to obligate heterotrophs such as Alicyclobacillus tolerans. This chapter summarizes present knowledge of the physiological and phylogenetic diversity of acidophilic bacteria and highlights differences in growth characteristics between the various species.
Caister Academic Press, 2016. 79-92 p.