Geochemical characteristics and microbial community composition in toxic metal-rich sediments contaminated with Au-Ag mine tailings

Man Jae Kwon, Jung Seok Yang, Seunghak Lee, Giehyeon Lee, Baknoon Ham, Maxim I. Boyanov, Kenneth M. Kemner, Edward J. O'Loughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of extreme geochemical conditions on microbial community composition were investigated for two distinct sets of sediment samples collected near weathered mine tailings. One set (SCH) showed extraordinary geochemical characteristics: As (6.7-11.5%), Pb (1.5-2.1%), Zn (0.1-0.2%), and pH (3.1-3.5). The other set (SCL) had As (0.3-1.2%), Pb (0.02-0.22%), and Zn (0.01-0.02%) at pH 2.5-3.1. The bacterial communities in SCL were clearly different from those in SCH, suggesting that extreme geochemical conditions affected microbial community distribution even on a small spatial scale. The clones identified in SCL were closely related to acidophilic bacteria in the taxa Acidobacterium (18%), Acidomicrobineae (14%), and Leptospirillum (10%). Most clones in SCH were closely related to Methylobacterium (79%) and Ralstonia (19%), both well-known metal-resistant bacteria. Although total As was extremely high, over 95% was in the form of scorodite (FeAsO4·2H2O). Acid-extractable As was only ~118 and ~14mgkg-1 in SCH and SCL, respectively, below the level known to be toxic to bacteria. Meanwhile, acid-extractable Pb and Zn in SCH were above toxic concentrations. Because As was present in an oxidized, stable form, release of Pb and/or Zn (or a combination of toxic metals in the sediment) from the sediment likely accounts for the differences in microbial community structure. The results also suggest that care should be taken when investigating mine tailings, because large differences in chemical/biological properties can occur over small spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Volume296
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 5

Fingerprint

Poisons
Tailings
tailings
community composition
microbial community
Bacteria
Sediments
Metals
bacterium
clone
Ralstonia
Methylobacterium
Acidobacteria
Clone Cells
Chemical analysis
scorodite
sediment
Acids
acid
community structure

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Kwon, Man Jae ; Yang, Jung Seok ; Lee, Seunghak ; Lee, Giehyeon ; Ham, Baknoon ; Boyanov, Maxim I. ; Kemner, Kenneth M. ; O'Loughlin, Edward J. / Geochemical characteristics and microbial community composition in toxic metal-rich sediments contaminated with Au-Ag mine tailings. In: Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2015 ; Vol. 296. pp. 147-157.
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title = "Geochemical characteristics and microbial community composition in toxic metal-rich sediments contaminated with Au-Ag mine tailings",
abstract = "The effects of extreme geochemical conditions on microbial community composition were investigated for two distinct sets of sediment samples collected near weathered mine tailings. One set (SCH) showed extraordinary geochemical characteristics: As (6.7-11.5{\%}), Pb (1.5-2.1{\%}), Zn (0.1-0.2{\%}), and pH (3.1-3.5). The other set (SCL) had As (0.3-1.2{\%}), Pb (0.02-0.22{\%}), and Zn (0.01-0.02{\%}) at pH 2.5-3.1. The bacterial communities in SCL were clearly different from those in SCH, suggesting that extreme geochemical conditions affected microbial community distribution even on a small spatial scale. The clones identified in SCL were closely related to acidophilic bacteria in the taxa Acidobacterium (18{\%}), Acidomicrobineae (14{\%}), and Leptospirillum (10{\%}). Most clones in SCH were closely related to Methylobacterium (79{\%}) and Ralstonia (19{\%}), both well-known metal-resistant bacteria. Although total As was extremely high, over 95{\%} was in the form of scorodite (FeAsO4·2H2O). Acid-extractable As was only ~118 and ~14mgkg-1 in SCH and SCL, respectively, below the level known to be toxic to bacteria. Meanwhile, acid-extractable Pb and Zn in SCH were above toxic concentrations. Because As was present in an oxidized, stable form, release of Pb and/or Zn (or a combination of toxic metals in the sediment) from the sediment likely accounts for the differences in microbial community structure. The results also suggest that care should be taken when investigating mine tailings, because large differences in chemical/biological properties can occur over small spatial scales.",
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Geochemical characteristics and microbial community composition in toxic metal-rich sediments contaminated with Au-Ag mine tailings. / Kwon, Man Jae; Yang, Jung Seok; Lee, Seunghak; Lee, Giehyeon; Ham, Baknoon; Boyanov, Maxim I.; Kemner, Kenneth M.; O'Loughlin, Edward J.

In: Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 296, 05.10.2015, p. 147-157.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Geochemical characteristics and microbial community composition in toxic metal-rich sediments contaminated with Au-Ag mine tailings

AU - Kwon, Man Jae

AU - Yang, Jung Seok

AU - Lee, Seunghak

AU - Lee, Giehyeon

AU - Ham, Baknoon

AU - Boyanov, Maxim I.

AU - Kemner, Kenneth M.

AU - O'Loughlin, Edward J.

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