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, 103 (4), 1227-38

Microbial Populations in Acid Mineral Bioleaching Systems of Tong Shankou Copper Mine, China


Microbial Populations in Acid Mineral Bioleaching Systems of Tong Shankou Copper Mine, China

X Xie et al. J Appl Microbiol.


Aims: To understand the composition and structure of microbial communities in different acid mineral bioleaching systems, and to present a more complete picture of microbially mediated acid mine drainage production.

Methods and results: In Tong Shankou Copper Mine, China, two samples (named K1 and K2) from two different sites with bioleaching were studied. A bacterial 16S rDNA library and an archaeal 16S rDNA library of the sample from each site were constructed by 16S rDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and sequencing. A total of 18 bacterial representative sequences and 12 archaeal representative sequences were obtained. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that 77.09% of the total bacterial clones were affiliated with Proteobacteria, and 21.22% of the total bacterial clones were closely related to Nitrospira. The rest of the bacterial clones were related to Firmicutes (1.68%). Sequences affiliated with the archaea of the Thermoplasma and Ferroplasma lineages were detected abundantly in the two samples. Unexpectedly, sequences affiliated with Sulfolobales and Methanothermus genera were also detected.

Conclusions: The molecular studies appear to be consistent with the environmental conditions existing at the sites, which coincides with previous studies. High concentrations of some elements (such as copper, iron and sulfur) seemed to be the key factors resulting in the diverse distribution of typical iron-oxidizing bacteria such as Leptospirillum species and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans.

Significance and impact of the study: Research on micro-organisms present in bioleaching systems especially archaea is not abundant. The acidophiles in the two bioleaching sites obtained from Tong Shankou Copper Mine, China, have not been reported until now. These results may expand our knowledge of the microbial diversity in the acid mineral bioleaching systems.

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