35S-tracer method for analyzing microbial sulfur compound cycling in oligotrophic anoxic groundwater habitat

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    Anaerobic, oligotrophic deep subsurface groundwater is an extremely demanding environment for microorganisms. This literature review presents an overview of microbial metabolism connected with dominant electron acceptors in such environments, including geological nuclear waste disposal repositories. The microbial activity is considerably lower in deep subsurface groundwater than in nutrient rich environments. The most common applicable terminal electron acceptors in this environment are nitrate, Mn(IV), Fe(III), sulfate, and CO2 in the order of the decreasing energy yields. In deep geological repositories sulfate reduction to sulfide is considered as a major risk for safe disposal of high radioactive waste copper and steel capsules due to capsule biocorrosion. The literature review also outlines 35S-label technique applicable to measure the rate of microbiologically produced sulfide. The general features of radioactive isotopes, their decay and detection are reviewed. Different kind of labelled sulfur distillation methods have been developed since 1950's. The applications of 35 SO4-tracer methods in environmental microbiology have started from ocean sediment sulfate reduction rate studies. At present distillation methods used are able to fractionate acid volatile sulfur compounds (FeS, HS) and chromium reducible sulfur compounds (FeS2, S0). 35S-tracer methods are applicable also to study environments with low sulfate reduction rates, these studies are reviewed. Finally, problems associated with so called cryptic sulfur cycle in environment are summarized.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages35
    ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-8397-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Technology


    • 35S-tracer
    • microorganism
    • deep groundwater
    • sulfate reduction
    • electron acceptors


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