The isolation and use of iron-oxidizing, moderately thermophilic acidophiles from the Collie coal mine for the generation of ferric iron leaching solution

P. H.M. Kinnunen, W. J. Robertson, J. J. Plumb, J. A.E. Gibson, P. D. Nichols, P. D. Franzmann, J. A. Puhakka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Moderately thermophilic, iron-oxidizing acidophiles were enriched from coal collected from an open-cut mine in Collie, Western Australia. Iron-oxidizers were enriched in fluidized-bed reactors (FBR) at 60°C and 70°C; and iron-oxidation rates were determined. Ferrous iron oxidation by the microbiota in the original coal material was inhibited above 63°C. In addition to four iron-oxidizers, closely related to Sulfobacillus spp that had been earlier isolated from the 60°C FBR, one heterotroph closely related to Alicyclobacillus spp was isolated. The Alicyclobacillus sp. isolated from the Collie coal mine tolerated a lower pH than known Alicyclobacillus spp and therefore may represent a new species. The optimum temperature for growth of the iron-oxidizing strains was approximately 50°C and their maximum temperatures were approximately 60°C. The FBR was adjusted to operate at 50°C and was inoculated with all of the isolated iron-oxidizing strains. At 60°C, an iron-oxidation rate of 0.5 g Fe2+ 1-1 h-1 was obtained. At 50°C, the iron-oxidation rate was only 0.3 g Fe2+ 1-1 h-1. These rates compare favourably with the iron-oxidation rate of Acidianus brierleyi in shake-flasks, but are considerably lower than mesophilic iron-oxidation rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-753
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Volume60
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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