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  • 1.
    Broman, Elias
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Abbtesaim, Jawad
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Christel, Stephan
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Ni, Gaofeng
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Lopez-Fernandez, Margarita
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Sundkvist, Jan-Eric
    Boliden Mineral AB.
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Low temperature, autotrophic microbial denitrification using thiosulfate or thiocyanate as electron donor2017In: Biodegradation, ISSN 0923-9820, E-ISSN 1572-9729, Vol. 28, no 4, p. 287-301Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Wastewaters generated during mining and processing of metal sulfide ores are often acidic (pH < 3) and can contain significant concentrations of nitrate, nitrite, and ammonium from nitrogen based explosives. In addition, wastewaters from sulfide ore treatment plants and tailings ponds typically contain large amounts of inorganic sulfur compounds, such as thiosulfate and tetrathionate. Release of these wastewaters can lead to environmental acidification as well as an increase in nutrients (eutrophication) and compounds that are potentially toxic to humans and animals. Waters from cyanidation plants for gold extraction will often conjointly include toxic, sulfur containing thiocyanate. More stringent regulatory limits on the release of mining wastes containing compounds such as inorganic sulfur compounds, nitrate, and thiocyanate, along the need to increase production from sulfide mineral mining calls for low cost techniques to remove these pollutants under ambient temperatures (approximately 8 °C). In this study, we used both aerobic and anaerobic continuous cultures to successfully couple inorganic sulfur compound (i.e. thiosulfate and thiocyanate) oxidation for the removal of nitrogenous compounds under neutral to acidic pH at the low temperatures typical for boreal climates. Furthermore, the development of the respective microbial communities was identified over time by DNA sequencing, and found to contain a consortium including populations aligning within Flavobacterium, Thiobacillus, and Comamonadaceae lineages. This is the first study to remediate mining waste waters by coupling autotrophic thiocyanate oxidation to nitrate reduction at low temperatures and acidic pH by means of an identified microbial community.

  • 2.
    Hubalek, Valerie
    et al.
    Uppsala University.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Eiler, Alexander
    Uppsala University.
    Buck, Moritz
    Uppsala University.
    Heim, Christine
    Univ Göttingen, Germany.
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Bertilsson, Stefan
    Uppsala University.
    Ionescu, Danny
    Leibniz Inst Freshwater Ecol & Inland Fisheries, Germany.
    Connectivity to the surface determines diversity patterns in subsurface aquifers of the Fennoscandian shield2016In: The ISME Journal, ISSN 1751-7362, E-ISSN 1751-7370, Vol. 10, no 10, p. 2447-2458Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Little research has been conducted on microbial diversity deep under the Earth's surface. In this study, the microbial communities of three deep terrestrial subsurface aquifers were investigated. Temporal community data over 6 years revealed that the phylogenetic structure and community dynamics were highly dependent on the degree of isolation from the earth surface biomes. The microbial community at the shallow site was the most dynamic and was dominated by the sulfur-oxidizing genera Sulfurovum or Sulfurimonas at all-time points. The microbial community in the meteoric water filled intermediate aquifer (water turnover approximately every 5 years) was less variable and was dominated by candidate phylum OD1. Metagenomic analysis of this water demonstrated the occurrence of key genes for nitrogen and carbon fixation, sulfate reduction, sulfide oxidation and fermentation. The deepest water mass (5000 year old waters) had the lowest taxon richness and surprisingly contained Cyanobacteria. The high relative abundance of phylogenetic groups associated with nitrogen and sulfur cycling, as well as fermentation implied that these processes were important in these systems. We conclude that the microbial community patterns appear to be shaped by the availability of energy and nutrient sources via connectivity to the surface or from deep geological processes.

  • 3.
    Lopez-Fernandez, Margarita
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf, Germany.
    Broman, Elias
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Turner, Stephanie
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. Univ Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Bertilsson, Stefan
    Uppsala University.
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Investigation of viable taxa in the deep terrestrial biosphere suggests high rates of nutrient recycling2018In: FEMS Microbiology Ecology, ISSN 0168-6496, E-ISSN 1574-6941, Vol. 94, no 8, article id fiy121Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The deep biosphere is the largest 'bioreactor' on earth, and microbes inhabiting this biome profoundly influence global nutrient and energy cycles. An important question for deep biosphere microbiology is whether or not specific populations are viable. To address this, we used quantitative PCR and high throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing of total and viable cells (i.e. with an intact cellular membrane) from three groundwaters with different ages and chemical constituents. There were no statistically significant differences in 16S rRNA gene abundances and microbial diversity between total and viable communities. This suggests that populations were adapted to prevailing oligo trophic conditions and that non-viable cells are rapidly degraded and recycled into new biomass. With higher concentrations of organic carbon, the modem marine and undefined mixed waters hosted a community with a larger range of predicted growth strategies than the ultra-oligo trophic old saline water. These strategies included fermentative and potentially symbiotic lifestyles by candidate phyla that typically have streamlined genomes. In contrast, the old saline waters had more 16S rRNA gene sequences in previously cultured lineages able to oxidize hydrogen and fix carbon dioxide. This matches the paradigm of a hydrogen and carbon dioxide-fed chemolithoauto trophic deep biosphere.

  • 4.
    Lopez-Fernandez, Margarita
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. Helmholtz Zentrum, Germany.
    Simone, Domenico
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Soler, Lucile
    Uppsala University.
    Nilsson, Emelie
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Holmfeldt, Karin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Lantz, Henrik
    Uppsala University.
    Bertilsson, Stefan
    Uppsala University.
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Metatranscriptomes Reveal That All Three Domains of Life Are Active but Are Dominated by Bacteria in the Fennoscandian Crystalline Granitic Continental Deep Biosphere2018In: mBio, ISSN 2161-2129, E-ISSN 2150-7511, Vol. 9, no 6, article id e01792-18Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The continental subsurface is suggested to contain a significant part of the earth's total biomass. However, due to the difficulty of sampling, the deep subsurface is still one of the least understood ecosystems. Therefore, microorganisms inhabiting this environment might profoundly influence the global nutrient and energy cycles. In this study, in situ fixed RNA transcripts from two deep continental groundwaters from the Aspo Hard Rock Laboratory (a Baltic Sea-influenced water with a residence time of <20 years, defined as "modern marine," and an "old saline" groundwater with a residence time of thousands of years) were subjected to metatranscriptome sequencing. Although small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene and mRNA transcripts aligned to all three domains of life, supporting activity within these community subsets, the data also suggested that the groundwaters were dominated by bacteria. Many of the SSU rRNA transcripts grouped within newly described candidate phyla or could not be mapped to known branches on the tree of life, suggesting that a large portion of the active biota in the deep biosphere remains unexplored. Despite the extremely oligotrophic conditions, mRNA transcripts revealed a diverse range of metabolic strategies that were carried out by multiple taxa in the modern marine water that is fed by organic carbon from the surface. In contrast, the carbon dioxide- and hydrogen-fed old saline water with a residence time of thousands of years predominantly showed the potential to carry out translation. This suggested these cells were active, but waiting until an energy source episodically becomes available. IMPORTANCE A newly designed sampling apparatus was used to fix RNA under in situ conditions in the deep continental biosphere and benchmarks a strategy for deep biosphere metatranscriptomic sequencing. This apparatus enabled the identification of active community members and the processes they carry out in this extremely oligotrophic environment. This work presents for the first time evidence of eukaryotic, archaeal, and bacterial activity in two deep subsurface crystalline rock groundwaters from the Aspo Hard Rock Laboratory with different depths and geochemical characteristics. The findings highlight differences between organic carbonfed shallow communities and carbon dioxide- and hydrogen-fed old saline waters. In addition, the data reveal a large portion of uncharacterized microorganisms, as well as the important role of candidate phyla in the deep biosphere, but also the disparity in microbial diversity when using standard microbial 165 rRNA gene amplification versus the large unknown portion of the community identified with unbiased metatranscriptomes.

  • 5.
    Ni, Gaofeng
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Simone, Domenico
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
    Palma, Daniela
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Broman, Elias
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. Stockholm University.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Turner, Stephanie
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    A novel inorganic sulfur compound metabolizing Ferroplasma-like population is suggested to mediate extracellular electron transfer2018In: Frontiers in Microbiology, ISSN 1664-302X, E-ISSN 1664-302X, article id 2945Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Mining and processing of metal sulfide ores produces waters containing metals and inorganic sulfur compounds such as tetrathionate and thiosulfate. If released untreated, these sulfur compounds can be oxidized to generate highly acidic wastewaters [termed 'acid mine drainage (AMD)'] that cause severe environmental pollution. One potential method to remediate mining wastewaters is the maturing biotechnology of 'microbial fuel cells' that offers the sustainable removal of acid generating inorganic sulfur compounds alongside producing an electrical current. Microbial fuel cells exploit the ability of bacterial cells to transfer electrons to a mineral as the terminal electron acceptor during anaerobic respiration by replacing the mineral with a solid anode. In consequence, by substituting natural minerals with electrodes, microbial fuel cells also provide an excellent platform to understand environmental microbemineral interactions that are fundamental to element cycling. Previously, tetrathionate degradation coupled to the generation of an electrical current has been demonstrated and here we report a metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analysis of the microbial community. Reconstruction of inorganic sulfur compound metabolism suggested the substrate tetrathionate was metabolized by the Ferroplasma-like and Acidithiobacillus-like populations via multiple pathways. Characterized Ferroplasma species do not utilize inorganic sulfur compounds, suggesting a novel Ferroplasma-likepopulation had been selected. Oxidation of intermediate sulfide, sulfur, thiosulfate, and adenylylsulfate released electrons and the extracellular electrontransfer to the anode was suggested to be dominated by candidate soluble electron shuttles produced by the Ferroplasma-like population. However, as the soluble electron shuttle compounds also have alternative functions within the cell, it cannot be ruled out that acidophiles use novel, uncharacterized mechanisms to mediate extracellular electron transfer. Several populations within the community were suggested to metabolize intermediate inorganicsulfur compounds by multiple pathways, which highlights the potential for mutualistic or symbiotic relationships. This study provided the genetic base for acidophilic microbial fuel cells utilized for the remediation of inorganic sulfur compounds from AMD.

  • 6.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Structure and function of microbial communities in acid sulfate soil and the terrestrial deep biosphere2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis describes the use of different DNA sequencing technologies to investigate the structure and function of microbial communities in two extreme environments, boreal acid sulfate soil and the terrestrial deep biosphere.

    The first of the two investigated environments was soils containing un-oxidized metal sulfides that are termed ‘potential acid sulfate soil’ (PASS) materials. If these materials are exposed to atmospheric oxygen by either natural phenomena (e.g., land uplift) or human activities (e.g., drainage) then the metal sulfides become oxidized and the PASS becomes acidic and is defined as an ‘acid sulfate soil’ (ASS). The resulting acid and metal release from metal sulfide oxidation can lead to severe environmental damage. Although acidophilic microorganisms capable of catalyzing acid and metal release have been identified from many sulfide mineral containing environments, the microbial community of boreal PASSs/ASSs remains unclear. This study investigated the physicochemical and microbial characteristics of PASSs and ASSs from the Risöfladan experimental field in Vasa, Finland. Sanger sequencing of 16S rRNA gene sequences of microorganisms present in the PASSs and ASSs were mostly assigned to acidophilic species and environmental clones previously identified from acid- and metal-contaminated environments. Enrichment cultures inoculated from the ASS demonstrated that the acidophilic microorganisms were responsible for catalyzing acid and metal release from PASSs/ASSs. Lastly, the study investigated how to mitigate metal sulfide oxidation and the concomitant formation of sulfuric acid by treating ASSs in situ with CaCO3 or Ca(OH)2 suspensions. The DNA sequencing still identified acidophilic microorganisms after the chemical treatments. However, the increased pH during and after treatment suggested that the activity of the acidophiles might be inhibited. This study was the first to identify the microbial community present in boreal PASSs/ASSs and suggested that treatment with basic compounds may inhibit microbial catalysis of metal sulfide dissolution.

    The second studied environment was the deep, dark terrestrial subsurface that is suggested to be both extremely stable and highly oligotrophic. Despite the scarcity of carbon and energy sources, the deep biosphere is estimated to constitute up to 20% of the total biomass on earth and thus, represents the largest microbial ecosystem. However, due to the difficulties of accessing this environment and our inability to cultivate the indigenous microbial populations, details of the diversity and metabolism of these communities remain largely unexplored. This study was carried out at Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden and utilized second-generation sequencing to identify the taxonomic composition and genetic potential of planktonic and biofilm populations. Community DNA sequencing of planktonic cells from three water types at varied age and depth (‘modern marine’, ‘undefined mixed’, and ‘old saline’) showed the existence of ultra-small cells capable of passing through a 0.22 μm filter that were phylogenetically distinct communities from the >0.22 μm fraction. The reduced cell size and/or genome size suggested a potential adaptation to the oligotrophic environment in the terrestrial deep biosphere. The identified planktonic communities were dominated by Proteobacteria, Candidate divisions, unclassified archaea, and unclassified bacteria. Functional analysis of the assembled genomes showed that the planktonic population from the shallow modern marine water demonstrated a predominantly anaerobic and heterotrophic lifestyle. In contrast, the deeper, old saline water was more closely aligned with the hypothesis of a hydrogen-driven deep biosphere. Metagenomic analysis of subsurface biofilms from ‘modern marine’ and ‘old saline’ water types suggested only a subset of populations were involved in initial biofilm formation. The identified biofilm populations from both water types were distinct from the planktonic community and were suggested to be dominated by hydrogen fed, chemolithoautotrophic and diazotrophic populations.

  • 7.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Holmfeldt, Karin
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Hubalek, Valerie
    Uppsala University.
    Lundin, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Åström, Mats E.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Bertilsson, Stefan
    Uppsala University.
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Microbial metagenomes from three aquifers in the Fennoscandian shield terrestrial deep biosphere reveal metabolic partitioning among populations2016In: The ISME Journal, ISSN 1751-7362, E-ISSN 1751-7370, Vol. 10, no 5, p. 1192-1203Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Microorganisms in the terrestrial deep biosphere host up to 20% of the earth's biomass and are suggested to be sustained by the gases hydrogen and carbon dioxide. A metagenome analysis of three deep subsurface water types of contrasting age (from <20 to several thousand years) and depth (171 to 448 m) revealed phylogenetically distinct microbial community subsets that either passed or were retained by a 0.22 μm filter. Such cells of <0.22 μm would have been overlooked in previous studies relying on membrane capture. Metagenomes from the three water types were used for reconstruction of 69 distinct microbial genomes, each with >86% coverage. The populations were dominated by Proteobacteria, Candidate divisions, unclassified archaea and unclassified bacteria. The estimated genome sizes of the <0.22 μm populations were generally smaller than their phylogenetically closest relatives, suggesting that small dimensions along with a reduced genome size may be adaptations to oligotrophy. Shallow 'modern marine' water showed community members with a predominantly heterotrophic lifestyle. In contrast, the deeper, 'old saline' water adhered more closely to the current paradigm of a hydrogen-driven deep biosphere. The data were finally used to create a combined metabolic model of the deep terrestrial biosphere microbial community.

  • 8.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Pedersen, Karsten
    Microbial Analytics Sweden.
    Edlund, Johanna
    Eriksson, Lena
    Åström, Mats E.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Andersson, Anders
    Bertilsson, Stefan
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Hydrogen fed chemolithoautotrophic and diazotrophic populations initiate biofilm formation in oligotrophic, deep terrestrial subsurface watersManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 9.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Pedersen, Karsten
    Micans - Microbial Analytics Sweden AB.
    Edlund, Johanna
    Micans - Microbial Analytics Sweden AB.
    Eriksson, Lena
    Micans - Microbial Analytics Sweden AB.
    Åström, Mats E.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Andersson, Anders F.
    KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
    Bertilsson, Stefan
    Uppsala University.
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Potential for hydrogen-oxidizing chemolithoautotrophic and diazotrophic populations to initiate biofilm formation in oligotrophic, deep terrestrial subsurface waters2017In: Microbiome, ISSN 0026-2633, E-ISSN 2049-2618, Vol. 5, article id 37Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Deep terrestrial biosphere waters are separated from the light-driven surface by the time required to percolate to the subsurface. Despite biofilms being the dominant form of microbial life in many natural environments, they have received little attention in the oligotrophic and anaerobic waters found in deep bedrock fractures. This study is the first to use community DNA sequencing to describe biofilm formation under in situ conditions in the deep terrestrial biosphere. Results: In this study, flow cells were attached to boreholes containing either "modern marine" or "old saline" waters of different origin and degree of isolation from the light-driven surface of the earth. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, we showed that planktonic and attached populations were dissimilar while gene frequencies in the metagenomes suggested that hydrogen-fed, carbon dioxide-and nitrogen-fixing populations were responsible for biofilm formation across the two aquifers. Metagenome analyses further suggested that only a subset of the populations were able to attach and produce an extracellular polysaccharide matrix. Initial biofilm formation is thus likely to be mediated by a few bacterial populations which were similar to Epsilonproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and unclassified bacteria. Conclusions: Populations potentially capable of attaching to a surface and to produce extracellular polysaccharide matrix for attachment were identified in the terrestrial deep biosphere. Our results suggest that the biofilm populations were taxonomically distinct from the planktonic community and were enriched in populations with a chemolithoautotrophic and diazotrophic metabolism coupling hydrogen oxidation to energy conservation under oligotrophic conditions.

  • 10.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Sten, Pekka
    Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, Finland.
    Engblom, Sten
    Novia University of Applied Sciences, Finland.
    Nowak, Pawel
    Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland.
    Österholm, Peter
    Åbo Akademi University, Finland.
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Impact of mitigation strategies on acid sulfate soil chemistry and microbial community2015In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 526, p. 215-221Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Potential acid sulfate soils contain reduced iron sulfides that if oxidized, can cause significant environmental damage by releasing large amounts of acid and metals. This study examines metal and acid release as well as the microbial community capable of catalyzing metal sulfide oxidation after treating acid sulfate soil with calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2). Leaching tests of acid sulfate soil samples were carried out in the laboratory. The pH of the leachate during the initial flushing with water lay between 3.8 and 4.4 suggesting that the jarosite/schwertmannite equilibrium controls the solution chemistry. However, the pH increased to circa 6 after treatment with CaCO3 suspension and circa 12 after introducing Ca(OH)2 solution. 16S rRNA gene sequences amplified from community DNA extracted from the untreated and both CaCO3and Ca(OH)2 treated acid sulfate soils were most similar to bacteria (69.1% to 85.7%) and archaea (95.4% to 100%) previously identified from acid and metal contaminated environments. These species included a Thiomonas cuprina-like and an Acidocella-like bacteria as well as a Ferroplasma acidiphilum-like archeon. Although the CaCO3 and Ca(OH)2 treatments did not decrease the proportion of microorganisms capable of accelerating acid and metal release, the chemical effects of the treatments suggested their reduced activity.

  • 11.
    Wu, Xiaofen
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Wong, Zhen Lim
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Sten, Pekka
    Engblom, Sten
    Osterholm, Peter
    Dopson, Mark
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Microbial community potentially responsible for acid and metal release from an Ostrobothnian acid sulfate soil2013In: FEMS Microbiology Ecology, ISSN 0168-6496, E-ISSN 1574-6941, Vol. 84, no 3, p. 555-563Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Soils containing an approximately equal mixture of metastable iron sulfides and pyrite occur in the boreal Ostrobothnian coastal region of Finland, termed 'potential acid sulfate soil materials'. If the iron sulfides are exposed to air, oxidation reactions result in acid and metal release to the environment that can cause severe damage. Despite that acidophilic microorganisms catalyze acid and metal release from sulfide minerals, the microbiology of acid sulfate soil (ASS) materials has been neglected. The molecular phylogeny of a depth profile through the plough and oxidized ASS layers identified several known acidophilic microorganisms and environmental clones previously identified from acid- and metal-contaminated environments. In addition, several of the 16S rRNA gene sequences were more similar to sequences previously identified from cold environments. Leaching of the metastable iron sulfides and pyrite with an ASS microbial enrichment culture incubated at low pH accelerated metal release, suggesting microorganisms capable of catalyzing metal sulfide oxidation were present. The 16S rRNA gene analysis showed the presence of species similar to Acidocella sp. and other clones identified from acid mine environments. These data support that acid and metal release from ASSs was catalyzed by indigenous microorganisms adapted to low pH.

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