Characterization of a thermophilic sulfur oxidizing enrichment culture dominated by a Sulfolobus sp. obtained from an underground hot spring for use in extreme bioleaching conditions

Virpi L.A. Salo-Zieman, Tarja Sivonen, Jason J. Plumb, Christina M. Haddad, Katja Laukkanen, Päivi H.M. Kinnunen, Anna H. Kaksonen, Peter D. Franzmann, Jaakko A. Puhakka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A thermoacidophilic elemental sulfur and chalcopyrite oxidizing enrichment culture VS2 was obtained from hot spring run-off sediments of an underground mine. It contained only archaeal species, namely a Sulfolobus metallicus-related organism (96% similarity in partial 16S rRNA gene) and Thermoplasma acidophilum (98% similarity in partial 16S rRNA gene). The VS2 culture grew in a temperature range of 35-76°C. Sulfur oxidation by VS2 was optimal at 70°C, with the highest oxidation rate being 99 mg S0 l -1 day-1. At 50°C, the highest sulfur oxidation rate was 89 mg l-1 day-1 (in the presence of 5 g Cl- l -1). Sulfur oxidation was not significantly affected by 0.02-0.1 g l-1 yeast extract or saline water (total salinity of 0.6 M) that simulated mine water at field application sites with availability of only saline water. Chloride ions at a concentration above 10 g l-1 inhibited sulfur oxidation. Both granular and powdered forms of sulfur were bioavailable, but the oxidation rate of granular sulfur was less than 50% of the powdered form. Chalcopyrite concentrate oxidation (1% w/v) by the VS2 resulted in a 90% Cu yield in 30 days.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)984-994
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of industrial microbiology and biotechnology
Volume33
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Keywords

  • Acidophile
  • Bioleaching
  • Sulfolobus
  • Sulfur oxidation
  • Thermophile

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