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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2006 Jun 5;94(2):330-6.

Rapid specific detection and quantification of bacteria and archaea involved in mineral sulfide bioleaching using real-time PCR.

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CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies PO Box 184, North Ryde NSW 1670, Australia.


A SybrGreen real-time PCR assay was developed to detect and quantify both total and selected 16S rDNA species of bacteria and archaea involved in the bioleaching of metals from sulfide ores. A set of specific and universal primers based on 16S rDNA sequences was designed and validated for specific detection and quantification of DNA isolated from representative strains of Acidianus brierleyi, Sulfolobus sp., Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans, Sulfobacillus acidophilus, Acidithiobacillus caldus, and Leptospirillum ferrooxidans. An artificial sequence based on 16S rDNA was constructed to quantify total 16S rDNA in mixed DNA samples. The real-time PCR assay was further validated using a mixture of 16S rDNA amplicons derived from the six different species, each added at a known amount. Finally, the real-time PCR assay was used to monitor the change of 16S rDNA copies of four bioleaching strains inoculated into chalcopyrite airlift column reactors operated at different temperatures. The growth dynamics of these strains correlated well with the expected effects of temperature in the chalcopyrite-leaching environment. The suitability of this method for monitoring microbial populations in industrial bioleaching environments is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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