Project description: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.
Project description:In soil metal ecotoxicology research, dosing is usually performed with metal salts, followed by leaching to remove excess salinity. This process also removes some metals, affecting metal mixture ratios as different metals are removed by leaching at different rates. Consequently, alternative dosing methods must be considered for fixed ratio metal mixture research. In this study three different metal mixture dosing methods (nitrate, oxide and annealed metal dosing) were examined for metal concentrations and toxicity. In the nitrate metal dosing method leaching reduced total metal retention and was affected by soil pH and cation exchange capacity (CEC). Acidic soils 3.22 (pH 3.4, CEC 8 meq/100g) and WTRS (pH 4.6, CEC 16 meq/100g) lost more than 75 and 64% of their total metals to leaching respectively while Elora (6.7 pH, CEC 21 meq/100g) and KUBC (pH 5.6, CEC 28 meq/100g) with higher pH and CEC only lost 13.6% and 12.2% total metals respectively. Metal losses were highest for Ni, Zn and Co (46.0%, 63.7% and 48.4% metal loss respectively) whereas Pb and Cu (5.6% and 20.0% metal loss respectively) were mostly retained, affecting mixture ratios. Comparatively, oxide and annealed metal dosing which do not require leaching had higher total metal concentrations, closer to nominal doses and maintained better mixture ratios (percent of nominal concentrations for the oxide metal dosing were Pb = 109.9%, Cu = 84.6%, Ni = 101.9%, Zn = 82.3% and Co = 97.8% and for the annealed metal dosing were Pb = 81.7%, Cu = 80.3%, Ni = 100.5%, Zn = 89.2% and Co = 101.3%). Relative to their total metal concentrations, nitrate metal dosing (lowest metal concentrations) was the most toxic followed by metal oxides dosing while the annealed dosing method was generally non-toxic. Due to the lack of toxicity of the annealed metals and their higher dosing effort, metal oxides, are the most appropriate of the tested dosing methods, for fixed-ratio metal mixtures studies with soil invertebrates.
Project description:A marine psychrotolerant, dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacterium, Shewanella sp. strain PV-4, from the microbial mat at a hydrothermal vent of Loihi Seamount in the Pacific Ocean has been further characterized, with emphases on metal reduction and iron biomineralization. The strain is able to reduce metals such as Fe(III), Co(III), Cr(VI), Mn(IV), and U(VI) as electron acceptors while using lactate, formate, pyruvate, or hydrogen as an electron donor. Growth during iron reduction occurred over the pH range of 7.0 to 8.9, a sodium chloride range of 0.05 to 5%, and a temperature range of 0 to 37 degrees C, with an optimum growth temperature of 18 degrees C. Unlike mesophilic dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacteria, which produce mostly superparamagnetic magnetite (<35 nm), this psychrotolerant bacterium produces well-formed single-domain magnetite (>35 nm) at temperatures from 18 to 37 degrees C. The genome size of this strain is about 4.5 Mb. Strain PV-4 is sensitive to a variety of commonly used antibiotics except ampicillin and can acquire exogenous DNA (plasmid pCM157) through conjugation.
Project description:Anthropogenic activities have resulted in the intensified use of water resources. For example, open pit bitumen extraction by Canada's oil sands operations uses an estimated volume of three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. The waste tailings-oil sands process water (OSPW)-are stored in holding ponds, and present an environmental concern as they are comprised of residual hydrocarbons and metals. Following the hypothesis that endogenous OSPW microbial communities have an enhanced tolerance to heavy metals, we tested the capacity of planktonic and biofilm populations from OSPW to withstand metal ion challenges, using Cupriavidus metallidurans, a known metal-resistant organism, for comparison. The toxicity of the metals toward biofilm and planktonic bacterial populations was determined by measuring the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentrations (MBICs) and planktonic minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) using the MBEC ™ assay. We observed that the OSPW community and C. metallidurans had similar tolerances to 22 different metals. While thiophillic elements (Te, Ag, Cd, Ni) were found to be most toxic, the OSPW consortia demonstrated higher tolerance to metals reported in tailings ponds (Al, Fe, Mo, Pb). Metal toxicity correlated with a number of physicochemical characteristics of the metals. Parameters reflecting metal-ligand affinities showed fewer and weaker correlations for the community compared to C. metallidurans, suggesting that the OSPW consortia may have developed tolerance mechanisms toward metals present in their environment.
Project description:Cellulases have a broad range of different industrial applications, ranging from food and beverages to pulp and paper and the biofuels area. Here a metagenomics based strategy was used to identify the cellulolytic enzyme CelRH5 from the rhizosphere. CelRH5 is a novel monospecific endo-?-1,4-glucanase belonging to the glycosyl hydrolase family 5 (GH5). Structural based modeling analysis indicated that CelRH5 is related to endo-?-1,4-glucanases derived from thermophilic microorganisms such as Thermotoga maritima, Fervidobacterium nodosum, and Ruminiclostridium thermocellum sharing 30-40% amino acid sequence identity. The molecular weight of the enzyme was determined as 40.5 kDa. Biochemical analyses revealed that the enzyme displayed good activity with soluble forms of cellulose as a substrate such as ostazin brilliant red hydroxyethyl cellulose (OBR-HEC), carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC), and insoluble azurine cross-linked hydroxyethylcellulose (AZCL-HEC). The enzyme shows highest enzymatic activity at pH 6.5 with high pH tolerance, remaining stable in the pH range 4.5-8.5. Highest activity was observed at 40°C, but CelRH5 is psychrotolerant being active and stable at temperatures below 30°C. The presence of the final products of cellulose hydrolysis (glucose and cellobiose) or metal ions such as Na+, K+, Li+, and Mg2+, as well as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), urea, dithiothreitol (DTT), dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), 2-mercaptoethanol (2-ME) or glycerol, did not have a marked effect on CelRH5 activity. However, the enzyme is quite sensitive to the presence of 10 mM ions Zn2+, Ni2+, Co2+, Fe3+ and reagents such as 1 M guanidine HCl, 0.1% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and 20% ethanol. Given that it is psychrotolerant and retains activity in the presence of final cellulose degradation products, metal ions and various reagents, which are common in many technological processes; CelRH5 may be potential suitability for a variety of different biotechnological applications.
Project description:Microbial consortia are ubiquitous in nature and exhibit several attractive features such as sophisticated metabolic capabilities and strong environmental robustness. This study aimed to decipher the metabolic and ecological characteristics of synergistic interactions in acetamiprid-degrading consortia, suggesting an optimal scheme for bioremediation of organic pollutants. The microbial consortium ACE-3 with excellent acetamiprid-degrading ability was enriched from the soil of an acetamiprid-contaminated site and characterized using high-throughput sequencing (HTS). Consortium ACE-3 was able to completely degrade 50 mg?L-1 acetamiprid in 144 h, and was metabolically active at a wide range of pH values (6.0-8.0) and temperatures (20-42°C). Furthermore, plausible metabolic routes of acetamiprid biodegradation by the consortium were proposed based on the identification of intermediate metabolites (Compounds I, II, III and IV). The findings indicated that the consortium ACE-3 has promising potential for the removal and detoxification of pesticides because it produces downstream metabolites (Compounds I and II) that are less toxic to mammals and insects than acetamiprid. Finally, Illumina HTS revealed that ? Proteobacteria were the dominant group, accounting for 85.61% of all sequences at the class level. Among the more than 50 genera identified in consortium ACE-3, Sphingobium, Acinetobacter, Afipia, Stenotrophomonas, and Microbacterium were dominant, respectively accounting for 3.07, 10.01, 24.45, and 49.12% of the total population.
Project description:The use of microorganisms in mining processes is a technology widely employed around the world. Leaching bacteria are characterized by having resistance mechanisms for several metals found in their acidic environments, some of which have been partially described in the Acidithiobacillus genus (mainly on ferrooxidans species). However, the response to copper has not been studied in the psychrotolerant Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans strains. Therefore, we propose to elucidate the response mechanisms of A. ferrivorans ACH to high copper concentrations (0-800 mM), describing its genetic repertoire and transcriptional regulation. Our results show that A. ferrivorans ACH can grow in up to 400 mM of copper. Moreover, we found the presence of several copper-related makers, belonging to cop and cus systems, as well as rusticyanins and periplasmatic acop protein in the genome. Interestingly, the ACH strain is the only one in which we find three copies of copB and copZ genes. Moreover, transcriptional expression showed an up-regulation response (acop, copZ, cusA, rusA, and rusB) to high copper concentrations. Finally, our results support the important role of these genes in A. ferrivorans copper stress resistance, promoting the use of the ACH strain in industrial leaching under low temperatures, which could decrease the activation times of oxidation processes and the energy costs.
Project description:We observed the initial release rate of metals from four fresh (i.e., without long time exposure to the atmosphere) hydrothermal sulfide cores into artificial seawater. The sulfide samples were collected by seafloor drilling from the Okinawa Trough by D/V Chikyu, powdered under inert gas, and immediately subjected to onboard metal-leaching experiments at different temperatures (5 °C and 20 °C), and under different redox conditions (oxic and anoxic), for 1-30 h. Zinc and Pb were preferentially released from sulfide samples containing various metals (i.e., Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb) into seawater. Under oxic experimental conditions, Zn and Pb dissolution rates from two sulfide samples composed mainly of iron disulfide minerals (pyrite and marcasite) were higher than those from two other sulfide samples with abundant sphalerite, galena, and/or silicate minerals. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the high metal-releasing sample contained several galvanic couples of iron disulfide with other sulfide minerals, whereas the low metal-releasing sample contained fewer galvanic couples or were coated by a silicate mineral. The experiments overall confirmed that the galvanic effects with iron disulfide minerals greatly induce the initial release of Zn and Pb from hydrothermal sulfides into seawater, especially under warm oxic conditions.
Project description:Cueva de la Mora (CM) is an acidic, meromictic pit lake in the Iberian Pyrite Belt characterized by extremely high metal(loid) concentrations and strong gradients in oxygen, metal, and nutrient concentrations. We hypothesized that geochemical variations with depth would result in differences in community composition and in metal resistance strategies among active microbial populations. We also hypothesized that metal resistance gene (MRG) expression would correlate with toxicity levels for dissolved metal species in the lake. Water samples were collected in the upper oxic layer, chemocline, and deep anoxic layer of the lake for shotgun metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing. Metagenomic analyses revealed dramatic differences in the composition of the microbial communities with depth, consistent with changing geochemistry. Based on relative abundance of taxa identified in each metagenome, Eukaryotes (predominantly Coccomyxa) dominated the upper layer, while Archaea (predominantly Thermoplasmatales) dominated the deep layer, and a combination of Bacteria and Eukaryotes were abundant at the chemocline. We compared metal resistance across communities using a curated list of protein-coding MRGs with KEGG Orthology identifiers (KOs) and found that there were broad differences in the metal resistance strategies (e.g., intracellular metal accumulation) expressed by Eukaryotes, Bacteria, and Archaea. Although normalized abundances of MRG and MRG expression were generally higher in the deep layer, expression of metal-specific genes was not strongly related to variations in specific metal concentrations, especially for Cu and As. We also compared MRG potential and expression in metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs) from the deep layer, where metal concentrations are highest. Consistent with previous work showing differences in metal resistance mechanisms even at the strain level, MRG expression patterns varied strongly among MAG populations from the same depth. Some MAG populations expressed very few MRG known to date, suggesting that novel metal resistance strategies remain to be discovered in uncultivated acidophiles.
Project description:Monitoring of the microbial community in bioleaching processes is essential in order to control process parameters and enhance the leaching efficiency. Suitable methods are, however, limited as they are usually not adapted to bioleaching samples and often no taxon-specific assays are available in the literature for these types of consortia. Therefore, our study focused on the development of novel quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays for the quantification of Acidithiobacillus caldus, Leptospirillum ferriphilum, Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans, and Sulfobacillus benefaciens and comparison of the results with data from other common molecular monitoring methods in order to evaluate their accuracy and specificity. Stirred tank bioreactors for the leaching of copper concentrate, housing a consortium of acidophilic, moderately thermophilic bacteria, relevant in several bioleaching operations, served as a model system. The microbial community analysis via qPCR allowed a precise monitoring of the evolution of total biomass as well as abundance of specific species. Data achieved by the standard fingerprinting methods, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and capillary electrophoresis single strand conformation polymorphism (CE-SSCP) on the same samples followed the same trend as qPCR data. The main added value of qPCR was, however, to provide quantitative data for each species whereas only relative abundance could be deduced from T-RFLP and CE-SSCP profiles. Additional value was obtained by applying two further quantitative methods which do not require nucleic acid extraction, total cell counting after SYBR Green staining and metal sulfide oxidation activity measurements via microcalorimetry. Overall, these complementary methods allow for an efficient quantitative microbial community monitoring in various bioleaching operations.