Life 2013, 3(1), 189-210; doi:10.3390/life3010189
Article

Evolution of Microbial “Streamer” Growths in an Acidic, Metal-Contaminated Stream Draining an Abandoned Underground Copper Mine

1 College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor, LL57 2UW, UK 2 Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden 3 Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy 4 College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor, LL57 2UW, UK 5 College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor, LL57 2UW, UK 6 College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor, LL57 2UW, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 November 2012; in revised form: 22 January 2013 / Accepted: 23 January 2013 / Published: 7 February 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extremophiles and Extreme Environments)
PDF Full-text Download PDF Full-Text [1069 KB, uploaded 8 February 2013 14:16 CET]
Abstract: A nine year study was carried out on the evolution of macroscopic “acid streamer” growths in acidic, metal-rich mine water from the point of construction of a new channel to drain an abandoned underground copper mine. The new channel became rapidly colonized by acidophilic bacteria: two species of autotrophic iron-oxidizers (Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans and “Ferrovum myxofaciens”) and a heterotrophic iron-oxidizer (a novel genus/species with the proposed name “Acidithrix ferrooxidans”). The same bacteria dominated the acid streamer communities for the entire nine year period, with the autotrophic species accounting for ~80% of the micro-organisms in the streamer growths (as determined by terminal restriction enzyme fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis). Biodiversity of the acid streamers became somewhat greater in time, and included species of heterotrophic acidophiles that reduce ferric iron (Acidiphilium, Acidobacterium, Acidocella and gammaproteobacterium WJ2) and other autotrophic iron-oxidizers (Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Leptospirillum ferrooxidans). The diversity of archaea in the acid streamers was far more limited; relatively few clones were obtained, all of which were very distantly related to known species of euryarchaeotes. Some differences were apparent between the acid streamer community and planktonic-phase bacteria. This study has provided unique insights into the evolution of an extremophilic microbial community, and identified several novel species of acidophilic prokaryotes.
Keywords: Acidithiobacillus; acid mine drainage (AMD); acid streamers; Actinobacteria; Ferrovum; iron oxidation; microbial communities

Article Statistics

Load and display the download statistics.

Citations to this Article

Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Kay, C.M.; Rowe, O.F.; Rocchetti, L.; Coupland, K.; Hallberg, K.B.; Johnson, D.B. Evolution of Microbial “Streamer” Growths in an Acidic, Metal-Contaminated Stream Draining an Abandoned Underground Copper Mine. Life 2013, 3, 189-210.

AMA Style

Kay CM, Rowe OF, Rocchetti L, Coupland K, Hallberg KB, Johnson DB. Evolution of Microbial “Streamer” Growths in an Acidic, Metal-Contaminated Stream Draining an Abandoned Underground Copper Mine. Life. 2013; 3(1):189-210.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kay, Catherine M.; Rowe, Owen F.; Rocchetti, Laura; Coupland, Kris; Hallberg, Kevin B.; Johnson, D. B. 2013. "Evolution of Microbial “Streamer” Growths in an Acidic, Metal-Contaminated Stream Draining an Abandoned Underground Copper Mine." Life 3, no. 1: 189-210.

Life EISSN 2075-1729 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert