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Microbial architecture of environmental sulfur processes: a novel syntrophic sulfur-metabolizing consortia

Title data

Norlund, Kelsey L. I. ; Southam, Gordon ; Tyliszczak, Tolek ; Hu, Yongfeng ; Karunakaran, Chithra ; Obst, Martin ; Hitchcock, Adam P. ; Warren, Lesley A.:
Microbial architecture of environmental sulfur processes: a novel syntrophic sulfur-metabolizing consortia.
In: Environmental Science & Technology. Vol. 43 (2009) Issue 23 . - pp. 8781-8786.
ISSN 0013-936X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/es803616k

Abstract in another language

Microbial oxidation of sulfur-rich mining waste materials drives acid mine drainage (AMD) and affects the global sulfur biogeochemical cycle. The generation of AMD is a complex, dynamic process that proceeds via multiple reaction pathways. The role of natural consortia of microbes in AMD generation, however, has received very little attention despite their widespread occurrence in mining environments. Through a combination of geochemical experimentation and modeling, scanning transmission X-ray microscopy, and fluorescent in situ hybridization, we show a novel interdependent metabolic arrangement of two ubiquitous and abundant AMD bacteria: chemoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing Acidithiobacillus sp. and heterotrophic Acidiphilium sp. Highly reminiscent of anaerobic methane oxidation (AOM) consortia, these bacteria are spatially segregated within a planktonic macrostructure of extracellular polymeric substance in which they syntrophically couple sulfur oxidation and reduction reactions in a mutually beneficial arrangement that regenerates their respective sulfur substrates. As discussed here, the geochemical impacts of microbial metabolism are linked to the consortial organization and development of the pod structure, which affects cell−cell interactions and interactions with the surrounding geochemical microenvironment. If these pods are widespread in mine waters, echoing the now widespread discovery of AOM consortia, then AMD-driven CO2 atmospheric fluxes from H2SO4 carbonate weathering could be reduced by as much as 26 TgC/yr. This novel sulfur consortial discovery indicates that organized metabolically linked microbial partnerships are likely widespread and more significant in global elemental cycling than previously considered.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER135561
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Heisenberg Professorship - Experimental Biogeochemistry
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Heisenberg Professorship - Experimental Biogeochemistry > Heisenberg Professorship - Experimental Biogeochemistry - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Obst
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2020 12:49
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2020 08:53
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/56490