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Temperature and nutrients as drivers of microbially mediated arsenic oxidation and removal from acid mine drainage

Abstract

Microbial oxidation of iron (Fe) and arsenic (As) followed by their co-precipitation leads to the natural attenuation of these elements in As-rich acid mine drainage (AMD). The parameters driving the activity and diversity of bacterial communities responsible for this mitigation remain poorly understood. We conducted batch experiments to investigate the effect of temperature (20 vs 35 °C) and nutrient supply on the rate of Fe and As oxidation and precipitation, the bacterial diversity (high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene), and the As oxidation potential (quantification of aioA gene) in AMD from the Carnoulès mine (France). In batch incubated at 20 °C, the dominance of iron-oxidizing bacteria related to Gallionella spp. was associated with almost complete iron oxidation (98%). However, negligible As oxidation led to the formation of As(III)-rich precipitates. Incubation at 35 °C and nutrient supply both stimulated As oxidation (71–75%), linked to a higher abundance of aioA gene and the dominance of As-oxidizing bacteria related to Thiomonas spp. As a consequence, As(V)-rich precipitates (70–98% of total As) were produced. Our results highlight strong links between indigenous bacterial community composition and iron and arsenic removal efficiency within AMD and provide new insights for the future development of a biological treatment of As-rich AMD.

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Funding

This work was supported by the Agence Nationale de Recherche (ANR) as part of ANR IngECOST-DMA project (ANR-13-ECOT-0009) and the OSU OREME. It benefited from the technical facilities of Get-PlaGe platform (http://get.genotoul.fr/), Montpellier RIO Imaging microscopy platform (https://www.mri.cnrs.fr/), and the AETE-ISO Platform (OSU REME, Université de Montpellier).

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Correspondence to Marina Héry.

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Tardy, V., Casiot, C., Fernandez-Rojo, L. et al. Temperature and nutrients as drivers of microbially mediated arsenic oxidation and removal from acid mine drainage. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 102, 2413–2424 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-017-8716-4

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Keywords

  • Acid mine drainage
  • Arsenic and iron oxidation
  • Bacterial community
  • Temperature
  • Nutrient