Characterization of the bacterial and sulphate reducing community in the alkaline and constantly cold water of the closed Kotalahti Mine

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Drainage from metal-sulphide rich rocks may cause considerable environmental stress in the form of elevated sulphate and heavy metal contamination of the environment. Mine draining effects from closed mines may be abated using indigenous and introduced microbial communities for sulphate reduction and metal precipitation at the mining site. Here we characterized the general and sulphate reducing bacterial (SRB) community of Kotalahti Mine (Finland). The mine was flooded after closure and sulphate reduction and metal precipitation was induced by addition of pig manure sludge into the Vehkankuilu shaft. Water was sampled from Vehkankuilu and Ollinkuilu shafts from depths -10, -30, -70 and -100 m 15 years after the treatment. The water in the shafts differed from each other biologically and geochemically. The shafts are not directly connected except by some fracture zones, and the Ollinkuilu shaft is used as a reference for environmental monitoring. The detected bacterial communities from both shafts contained methylotrophic ?-Proteobacteria, hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic ß-Proteobacteria and fermenting bacterial clades. The concentration of SRB was low, at most 4.0 * 103 dsrB genes·mL-1, and the SRB affiliated with Desulfobulbus and Thermoanaerobacteriales clades. Despite the obvious success of the mine as an in situ bioreactor for increasing water pH and removing sulphate and heavy metals by induced sulphate reduction under suboptimal temperature, only a small portion, less than 0.5%, of the bacterial population in the mine water was SRB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-472
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • mine drainage
  • abandoned mine
  • SRB
  • heavy metals
  • methylotroph
  • manure sludge
  • in situ bioreactor

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