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Biosulfidogenesis mediates natural attenuation in acidic mine pit lakes
van der Graaf, C.M.; Sánchez-España, J.; Yusta, I.; Ilin, A.; Shetty, S.A.; Bale, N.J.; Villanueva, L.; Stams, A.J.M.; Sánchez-Andrea, I. (2020). Biosulfidogenesis mediates natural attenuation in acidic mine pit lakes. Microorganisms 8(9): 1275.
In: Microorganisms. MDPI: Basel. ISSN 2076-2607, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

Author keywords
    acidophiles; sulfate reduction; sulfur reduction; sulfur disproportionation; biosulfidogenesis; bioremediation; sulfide neoformation; lipid biomarker

Auteurs  Top 
  • van der Graaf, C.M.
  • Sánchez-España, J.
  • Yusta, I.
  • Ilin, A.
  • Shetty, S.A.
  • Bale, N.J., meer
  • Villanueva, L., meer
  • Stams, A.J.M.
  • Sánchez-Andrea, I.


    Acidic pit lakes are abandoned open pit mines filled with acid minedrainage (AMD)—highly acidic, metalliferous waters that pose a severe threat tothe environment and are rarely properly remediated. Here, we investigated two meromictic, oligotrophic acidicmine pit lakes in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB), Filón Centro (Tharsis) (FC)and La Zarza (LZ). We observed a natural attenuation of acidity and toxic metalconcentrations towards the lake bottom, which was more pronounced in FC. Thedetection of Cu and Zn sulfides in the monimolimnion of FC suggestsprecipitation of dissolved metals as metal sulfides, pointing to biogenicsulfide formation. This was supported by microbial diversity analysis via 16SrRNA gene amplicon sequencing of samples from the water column, which showed thepresence of sulfidogenic microbial taxa in FC and LZ. In the monimolimnion ofFC, sequences affiliated with the putative sulfate-reducing genus Desulfomonile were dominant (58%), whereas in the more acidic andmetal-enriched LZ, elemental sulfur-reducing Acidianus and Thermoplasma spp., anddisproportionating Desulfocapsa spp. were moreabundant. Furthermore, the detection of reads classified as methanogens and Desulfosporosinus spp., although at low relative abundance, represents one of thelowest pH values (2.9 in LZ) at which these taxa have been reported, to ourknowledge. Analysis of potential biomarker lipids provided evidence that highlevels of phosphocholine lipids with mixed acyl/ether glycerol core structureswere associated with Desulfomonile, while ceramide lipids were characteristic of Microbacter in these environments. We propose that FC and LZ function asnatural bioremediation reactors where metal sulfide precipitation is mediatedby biosulfidogenesis starting from elemental sulfur reduction anddisproportionation at an early stage (LZ), followed by sulfate reduction at alater stage (FC).

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