Insights into the Bacterial Diversity of the Acidic Akhtala Mine Tailing in Armenia Using Molecular Approaches

Curr Microbiol. 2019 Apr;76(4):462-469. doi: 10.1007/s00284-019-01640-9. Epub 2019 Feb 18.


The impact of the heavy metal contamination and acidity on the bacterial community was studied in samples collected from the Akhtala copper mine tailing using molecular approaches. The bacterial community structure analysis by PCR-DGGE fingerprinting revealed an abundance of Firmicutes, Acidobacteria, and Proteobacteria in different layers of the Akhtala tailing. 454 pyrotag sequence analyses revealed that a significant part of the sequences originated from Proteobacteria (49%) and Bacteroidetes (43%). Bacterial taxa are distributed also in phyla Saccharibacteria (2%), Verrucomicrobia (1.5%), Gammatimonadetes (1%), and some minor additional bacterial groups. The main primary producers in the Akhtala tailing appear to be obligate autotrophic Thiobacillus and Sulfuritalea species. Representatives of Lutibacter and Lysobacter genera are the most abundant acid-tolerant heterotrophs in the studied tailing. The presence of a large number of yet-uncultivated species emphasizes the importance of the future exploration of the tailing as an important source of novel bacteria.

MeSH terms

  • Armenia
  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Biodiversity*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis
  • Microbiota / genetics
  • Mining*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Metals, Heavy
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants