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Functions and Unique Diversity of Genes and Microorganisms Involved in Arsenite Oxidation from the Tailings of a Realgar Mine.


ABSTRACT: The tailings of the Shimen realgar mine have unique geochemical features. Arsenite oxidation is one of the major biogeochemical processes that occurs in the tailings. However, little is known about the functional and molecular aspects of the microbial community involved in arsenite oxidation. Here, we fully explored the functional and molecular features of the microbial communities from the tailings of the Shimen realgar mine. We collected six samples of tailings from sites A, B, C, D, E, and F. Microcosm assays indicated that all of the six sites contain both chemoautotrophic and heterotrophic arsenite-oxidizing microorganisms; their activities differed considerably from each other. The microbial arsenite-oxidizing activities show a positive correlation with soluble arsenic concentrations. The microbial communities of the six sites contain 40 phyla of bacteria and 2 phyla of archaea that show extremely high diversity. Soluble arsenic, sulfate, pH, and total organic carbon (TOC) are the key environmental factors that shape the microbial communities. We further identified 114 unique arsenite oxidase genes from the samples; all of them code for new or new-type arsenite oxidases. We also isolated 10 novel arsenite oxidizers from the samples, of which 4 are chemoautotrophic and 6 are heterotrophic. These data highlight the unique diversities of the arsenite-oxidizing microorganisms and their oxidase genes from the tailings of the Shimen realgar mine. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report describing the functional and molecular features of microbial communities from the tailings of a realgar mine.This study focused on the functional and molecular characterizations of microbial communities from the tailings of the Shimen realgar mine. We fully explored, for the first time, the arsenite-oxidizing activities and the functional gene diversities of microorganisms from the tailings, as well as the correlation of the microbial activities/diversities with environmental factors. The findings of this study help us to better understand the diversities of the arsenite-oxidizing bacteria and the geochemical cycle of arsenic in the tailings of the Shimen realgar mine and gain insights into the microbial mechanisms by which the secondary minerals of the tailings were formed. This work also offers a set of unique arsenite-oxidizing bacteria for basic research of the molecular regulation of arsenite oxidation in bacterial cells and for the environmentally friendly bioremediation of arsenic-contaminated groundwater.

SUBMITTER: Zeng XC 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5118913 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): BAB67500

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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