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Evolution of Microbial “Streamer” Growths in an Acidic, Metal-Contaminated Stream Draining an Abandoned Underground Copper Mine
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
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2013 (English)In: Life, ISSN EISSN 2075-1729, Vol. 3, no 1, 189-210 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A nine year study was carried out on the evolution of macroscopic “acid streamer” growths in acidic, metal-rich mine water from the point of construction of a new channel to drain an abandoned underground copper mine. The new channel became rapidly colonized by acidophilic bacteria: two species of autotrophic iron-oxidizers (Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans and “Ferrovum myxofaciens”) and a heterotrophic iron-oxidizer (a novel genus/species with the proposed name “Acidithrix ferrooxidans”). The same bacteria dominated the acid streamer communities for the entire nine year period, with the autotrophic species accounting for ~80% of the micro-organisms in the streamer growths (as determined by terminal restriction enzyme fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis). Biodiversity of the acid streamers became somewhat greater in time, and included species of heterotrophic acidophiles that reduce ferric iron (Acidiphilium, Acidobacterium, Acidocella and gammaproteobacterium WJ2) and other autotrophic iron-oxidizers (Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Leptospirillum ferrooxidans). The diversity of archaea in the acid streamers was far more limited; relatively few clones were obtained, all of which were very distantly related to known species of euryarchaeotes. Some differences were apparent between the acid streamer community and planktonic-phase bacteria. This study has provided unique insights into the evolution of an extremophilic microbial community, and identified several novel species of acidophilic prokaryotes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 3, no 1, 189-210 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66688DOI: 10.3390/life3010189OAI: diva2:608417

This article belongs to the Special Issue Extremophiles and Extreme Environments

Available from: 2013-02-27 Created: 2013-02-27 Last updated: 2016-05-24Bibliographically approved

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Rowe, Owen F
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Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences

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