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Open AccessArticle

Novel Strategy for Improvement of the Bioleaching Efficiency of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans Based on the AfeI/R Quorum Sensing System

State Key Laboratory of Microbial Technology, Shandong University, No. 72 Binhai Road, Qingdao 266237, China
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Minerals 2020, 10(3), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10030222
Received: 27 January 2020 / Revised: 16 February 2020 / Accepted: 26 February 2020 / Published: 29 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms–Minerals Interactions in Aquatic Environments)
Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans is an acidophilic and chemolithotrophic sulfur- and iron-oxidizing bacterium that has been widely used in the bioleaching process for extracting metals. Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) are essential for bacteria-ore interactions, and the regulation of EPS synthesis could be an important way of influencing the efficiency of the bioleaching process. Therefore, exploring and utilizing the regulatory pathways of EPS synthesis to improve the bacterial bioleaching capability have posed a challenge in the study and application of bioleaching bacteria. Here, several engineering strains were constructed using genetic manipulation methods. And we revealed the regulatory function of the AfeI/R quorum sensing (QS) system in EPS synthesis and biofilm formation of A. ferrooxidans, and the AfeI/R-mediated EPS synthesis could influence bacteria-substrate interactions and the efficiency of bioleaching. Finally, an AfeI/R-mediated bioleaching model was proposed to illustrate the role of QS system in this process. This study provided new insights into and clues for developing highly efficient bioleaching bacteria and modulating the bioleaching process. View Full-Text
Keywords: Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans; EPS synthesis; biofilm formation; bacteria-ore interactions; quorum sensing Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans; EPS synthesis; biofilm formation; bacteria-ore interactions; quorum sensing
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Gao, X.-Y.; Liu, X.-J.; Fu, C.-A.; Gu, X.-F.; Lin, J.-Q.; Liu, X.-M.; Pang, X.; Lin, J.-Q.; Chen, L.-X. Novel Strategy for Improvement of the Bioleaching Efficiency of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans Based on the AfeI/R Quorum Sensing System. Minerals 2020, 10, 222.

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