Gene Identification and Substrate Regulation Provide Insights into Sulfur Accumulation during Bioleaching with the Psychrotolerant Acidophile Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans
2013 (English)In: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, ISSN 0099-2240, E-ISSN 1098-5336, Vol. 79, no 3, 951-7 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The psychrotolerant acidophile Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans has been identified from cold environments and has been shown to use ferrous iron and inorganic sulfur compounds as its energy sources. A bioinformatic evaluation presented in this study suggested that Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans utilized a ferrous iron oxidation pathway similar to that of the related species Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. However, the inorganic sulfur oxidation pathway was less clear, since the Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans genome contained genes from both Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus caldus encoding enzymes whose assigned functions are redundant. Transcriptional analysis revealed that the petA1 and petB1 genes (implicated in ferrous iron oxidation) were downregulated upon growth on the inorganic sulfur compound tetrathionate but were on average 10.5-fold upregulated in the presence of ferrous iron. In contrast, expression of cyoB1 (involved in inorganic sulfur compound oxidation) was decreased 6.6-fold upon growth on ferrous iron alone. Competition assays between ferrous iron and tetrathionate with Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans SS3 precultured on chalcopyrite mineral showed a preference for ferrous iron oxidation over tetrathionate oxidation. Also, pure and mixed cultures of psychrotolerant acidophiles were utilized for the bioleaching of metal sulfide minerals in stirred tank reactors at 5 and 25°C in order to investigate the fate of ferrous iron and inorganic sulfur compounds. Solid sulfur accumulated in bioleaching cultures growing on a chalcopyrite concentrate. Sulfur accumulation halted mineral solubilization, but sulfur was oxidized after metal release had ceased. The data indicated that ferrous iron was preferentially oxidized during growth on chalcopyrite, a finding with important implications for biomining in cold environments.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 79, no 3, 951-7 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66140DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02989-12PubMedID: 23183980OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-66140DiVA: diva2:605819