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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 May;60(5):1614-21.

Cultural and phylogenetic analysis of mixed microbial populations found in natural and commercial bioleaching environments.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia.


A range of autotrophic and heterotrophic enrichment cultures were established to determine the cultural bacterial diversity present in samples obtained from the acidic runoff of a chalcocite overburden heap and from laboratory-scale (1- to 4-liter) batch and continuous bioreactors which were being used for the commercial assessment of the bioleachability of zinc sulfide ore concentrates. Strains identified as Thiobacillus ferrooxidans, Thiobacillus thiooxidans, "Leptospirillum ferrooxidans," and Acidiphilium cryptum were isolated from both the natural site and the batch bioreactor, but only "L. ferrooxidans," a moderately thermophilic strain of T. thiooxidans, and a moderately thermophilic iron-oxidizing bacterium could be recovered from the continuous bioreactor running under steady-state conditions. Sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA genes of 33 representative strains revealed that all of the strains were closely related to strains which have been sequenced previously and also confirmed the phylogenetic diversity of bacteria present in bioleaching environments.

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