Special Issue "Interfacial Interactions between Metal Sulphides and Biomining Microbes: Insight into Biofilms and Omics Advances"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Ruiyong Zhang

Geomicrobiology Unit, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Stilleweg 2, 30655 Hannover, Germany
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Interests: geomicrobiology; environmental microbiology; biomining; biofilms
Guest Editor
Dr. Qian Li

Biofilm Centre, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstraße 5, 45141 Essen, Germany
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Interests: atomic force microscopy; adhesion force; extracellular polymeric substances; bioleaching
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sand

1. College for Environmental Science and Technology, Donghua University, 200336 Shanghai, China
2. Biofilm Centre, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstraße 5, 45141 Essen, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biochemistry and ecology of sulfur/iron/manganese/nitrogen compound metabolism/degraders; bioleaching and biocorrosion of metals, biodeterioration mechanisms; biofilm/biofouling ecology and chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biomining has been successfully applied worldwide as a technology for metal recovery. The predominant biomining microorganisms are extremely acidophilic bacteria and archaea (i.e., microorganisms that thrive at pH values below 3). These are able to oxidize reduced inorganic sulfur compounds (RISCs) and/or iron(II)-ions. Biomining microbes are distributed among the Proteobacteria (Acidithiobacillus, Acidiphilium, Acidiferrobacter, Ferrovum), Nitrospirae (Leptospirillum), Firmicutes (Alicyclobacillus, Sulfobacillus) and Actinobacteria (Ferrimicrobium, Acidimicrobium, Ferrithrix), Crenarchaeota (Sulfolobus, Acidianus, Metallosphaera) and Euryarchaeota (Ferroplasma, Acidiplasma). The two well-established leaching modes are non-contact and contact leaching. The latter takes into account that most cells attach and form biofilms on the surface of sulfide minerals. This means that the electrochemical processes that result in the dissolution of sulfide minerals take place at the interface between the bacterial cell and the mineral surface. Interfacial science, including cell attachment and biofilm formation, as well as functional analysis of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), contribute to the understanding of the microbe–minerals interactions, as well as to microbial industrial applications. This Special Issue aims to publish papers on recent advances in interfacial studies relevant to microbial catalyzed mineral dissolution processes. These include characterization of attachment and biofilm formation on mineral surfaces and advanced microscopic studies of microbe–mineral interactions. Studies on the physiology and phylogeny of biomining microbes, as well as recent omics data relevant to the understanding of the interfacial science, are also welcome.

Dr. Ruiyong Zhang
Dr. Qian Li
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sand
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Biomining
  • Attachment
  • Adhesion force
  • Biofilms
  • Extracellular polymeric substances
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Proteomics
  • Genomics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Acidophiles
  • Thermo-acidophilic archaea

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Effects of Single and Mixed Energy Sources on Intracellular Nanoparticles Synthesized by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans
Minerals 2019, 9(3), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9030163
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 28 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 March 2019 / Published: 8 March 2019
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Abstract
Effective biosynthesis of magnetite nanoparticles using current technology is challenging. We investigated the synthesis of nanoparticles by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans grown on ferrous iron, elemental sulphur, and mixtures of both substrates. A comparison of tests with different doping amounts of elemental sulphur in ferrous-containing [...] Read more.
Effective biosynthesis of magnetite nanoparticles using current technology is challenging. We investigated the synthesis of nanoparticles by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans grown on ferrous iron, elemental sulphur, and mixtures of both substrates. A comparison of tests with different doping amounts of elemental sulphur in ferrous-containing medium showed that the addition of 0.25 and 0.5 M elemental sulphur to the medium resulted in an increased delay of microbial growth and ferrous iron oxidation. TEM suggested that the ferrous material was an essential energy source for the synthesis of nanoparticles in cells. TEM results indicated that the different ratios of ferrous and sulphur had no significant effect on the morphology of bacteria and the size of nanoparticles. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) showed that the nanoparticles were composed of magnetite. For the first time, HRTEM and XANES spectra in-situ characterization was conducted to investigate the nanoparticles that were synthesized by A. ferrooxidans. The findings from this study indicated that the different ratios of ferrous and sulphur had no significant effect on size and shape of nanoparticles synthesized by A. ferrooxidans. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Anaerobic Bioreduction of Jarosites and Biofilm Formation by a Natural Microbial Consortium
Minerals 2019, 9(2), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020081
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 25 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
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Abstract
Jarosite occurs naturally in acid sulphate soils and is a common feature of streams impacted by acid mine drainage (AMD). Biological reduction of iron-sulphate minerals, such as jarosite, has the potential to contribute to the natural attenuation of acid mine drainage sites. The [...] Read more.
Jarosite occurs naturally in acid sulphate soils and is a common feature of streams impacted by acid mine drainage (AMD). Biological reduction of iron-sulphate minerals, such as jarosite, has the potential to contribute to the natural attenuation of acid mine drainage sites. The reduction of different jarosites (including minerals containing precious and toxic metals) by a natural bacterial/microbial consortium was examined in this study. Jarosites was used as a sole terminal electron acceptor via the reductive dissolution of Fe(III) minerals. The production of Fe(II) and the presence of sulphate-reducing bacteria in the consortium lead to the precipitation of metal sulphides immobilizing toxic heavy metals. Microbial attachment and biofilm formation of minerals have a great impact on the production and transformation of minerals and can influence the mobility of metals. After the adaptation to different jarosites, a unique specie was found: Desulfosporosinus orientis. Desulfosporosinus species are sulphate-reducing bacteria and can be found in sulphate-rich heavy metal-polluted environments, such as acid mine/rock drainage sites, being responsible for the sulphides formation. D. orientis is an obligate anaerobic microorganism and is able to reduce Fe(III) D. orientis is an obligate anaerobic microorganism and is able to reduce Fe(III). Confocal laser scanning microscopy and fluorescent lectin-binding analyses (FLBA) were used to study the arrangement and composition of the exopolysaccharides/glycoconjugates in biofilms indicating the presence of mannose, glucose, and N-acetylglucosamine residues. This study provides insights to understand the processes leading to the mobility or retention of metals in mine waste and industrial landfill environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Adhesion to Mineral Surfaces by Cells of Leptospirillum, Acidithiobacillus and Sulfobacillus from Armenian Sulfide Ores
Minerals 2019, 9(2), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020069
Received: 6 December 2018 / Revised: 19 January 2019 / Accepted: 20 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
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Abstract
Bioleaching of metal sulfides is an interfacial process where adhesion and subsequent biofilm formation are considered to be crucial for this process. In this study, adhesion and biofilm formation by several acidophiles (Acidithiobacillus, Leptospirillum and Sulfobacillus) isolated from different biotopes [...] Read more.
Bioleaching of metal sulfides is an interfacial process where adhesion and subsequent biofilm formation are considered to be crucial for this process. In this study, adhesion and biofilm formation by several acidophiles (Acidithiobacillus, Leptospirillum and Sulfobacillus) isolated from different biotopes with sulfide ores in Armenia were studied. Results showed that: (1) these bacteria adhere to pyrite surfaces to various extents. A correlation between pyrite biooxidation and adhesion of S. thermosulfidooxidans 6, L. ferriphilum CC, L. ferrooxidans ZC on pyrite surfaces is shown. It is supposed that bioleaching of pyrite by S. thermosulfidooxidans 6, L. ferriphilum CC, L. ferrooxidans ZC occurs by means of indirect leaching: by ferric iron of bacterial origin; (2) cells of At. ferrooxidans 61, L. ferrooxidans ZC and St. thermosulfidooxidans 6 form a monolayer biofilm on pyrite surfaces. The coverage of pyrite surfaces varies among these species. The order of the biofilm coverage is: L. ferrooxidans ZC ≥ At. ferrooxidans 61 > St. thermosulfidooxidans 6; (3) the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) analysis indicates that the tested strains produce EPS, if grown either on soluble ferrous iron or solid pyrite. EPS are mainly composed of proteins and carbohydrates. Cells excrete higher amounts of capsular EPS than of colloidal EPS. In addition, cells grown on pyrite produce more EPS than ones grown on ferrous iron. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis of Attachment to Chalcopyrite of Three Mesophilic Iron and/or Sulfur-Oxidizing Acidophiles
Minerals 2018, 8(9), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8090406
Received: 24 July 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
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Abstract
Adhesion plays an important role in bacterial dissolution of metal sulfides, since the attached cells initiate the dissolution. In addition, biofilms, forming after bacterial attachment, enhance the dissolution. In this study, interactions between initial adhesion force, attachment behavior and copper recovery were comparatively [...] Read more.
Adhesion plays an important role in bacterial dissolution of metal sulfides, since the attached cells initiate the dissolution. In addition, biofilms, forming after bacterial attachment, enhance the dissolution. In this study, interactions between initial adhesion force, attachment behavior and copper recovery were comparatively analyzed for Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans, and Leptospirillum ferrooxidans during bioleaching of chalcopyrite. The adhesion forces between bacteria and minerals were measured by atomic force microscopy (AFM). L. ferrooxidans had the largest adhesion force and attached best to chalcopyrite, while A. ferrooxidans exhibited the highest bioleaching of chalcopyrite. The results suggest that the biofilm formation, rather than the initial adhesion, is positively correlated with bioleaching efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Insights into the Surface Transformation and Electrochemical Dissolution Process of Bornite in Bioleaching
Minerals 2018, 8(4), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8040173
Received: 23 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (8897 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, density functional theory (DFT) calculations, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and electrochemistry analysis were combined to analyze the electrochemical dissolution process of bornite during bioleaching. DFT calculations showed that bornite was a conductor with metallic conductivity. The formula of bornite may [...] Read more.
In this work, density functional theory (DFT) calculations, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and electrochemistry analysis were combined to analyze the electrochemical dissolution process of bornite during bioleaching. DFT calculations showed that bornite was a conductor with metallic conductivity. The formula of bornite may be (Cu+)5Fe3+(S2−)4 and the surface reconstruction of (111)-S surface was discussed. Electrochemistry and XPS analysis showed that bornite tended to be directly oxidized with high conductivity when the potential was higher than 0.3 V vs. Ag/AgCl. Elemental sulfur (S0), FeOOH and CuS were the main intermediate species on the bornite surface during the oxidation process. The production of S0 and FeOOH on bornite surface can be significantly accelerated with increased redox potential, but no insoluble sulfate (SO42−) formed on bornite surface in 0.3–0.65 V vs. Ag/AgCl. The oxidative dissolution of bornite was significantly accelerated with increasing redox potential, which was one important reason why mixed culture was more effective than single strains of A. caldus and L. ferriphilum in bornite bioleaching. The insoluble SO42− was formed mainly through the chemical reactions in solution and then covered the bornite surface in bioleaching. Based on the obtained results, a model for interpreting the dissolution process of bornite in bioleaching was proposed. Full article
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