Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 19, pp 7819–7833 | Cite as

Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans and its potential application

  • Lei Yang
  • Dan Zhao
  • Jian Yang
  • Weidong Wang
  • Peng Chen
  • Shuang ZhangEmail author
  • Lei YanEmail author


Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans (A. thiooxidans) is a widespread, mesophilic, obligately aerobic, extremely acidophilic, rod-shaped, and chemolithoautotrophic gram-negative gammaproteobacterium. It can obtain energy and electrons from the oxidation of reducible sulfur, and it can fix carbon dioxide and assimilate nitrate, nitrite, and ammonium to satisfy carbon and nitrogen requirement. This bacterium exists as different genomovars and its genome size range from 3.02 to 3.97 Mb. Here, we highlight the recent advances in the understanding of the general biological features of A. thiooxidans, as well as the genetic diversity and the sulfur oxidation pathway system. Additionally, the potential applications of A. thiooxidans were summarized including the recycling of metals from metal-bearing ores, electric wastes, and sludge, the improvement of alkali-salinity soils, and the removal of sulfur from sulfur-containing solids and gases.


Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans Biological features Sulfur oxidation Metal recycling Desulfurization 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Longjiang Scholar Program of Heilongjiang Province

(Grant No. Q201815), National Natural Science Foundation of China (41471201, 31100006), Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province of China (QC2014C023, C201442, ZD2018005), University Nursing Program for Young Scholars with Creative Talents in Heilongjiang Province (UNPYSCT-2015086), Support Program of Scientific Research Team and Platform of HBAU (TDJH201809), National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFD0800906), Open Foundation of the Heilongjiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology and Recycling of Argo-Waste in Cold Region (201704, 201707), Technology Program of Land Reclamation General Bureau of Heilongjiang.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This review does not include any researches with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heilongjiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology and Recycling of Argo-Waste in Cold Region, College of Life Science and BiotechnologyHeilongjiang Bayi Agricultural UniversityDaqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of PharmacyLanzhou UniversityLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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