Characterization of bacterial community structure on a weathered pegmatitic granite

Deirdre B. Gleeson (Lead / Corresponding author), Nabla M. Kennedy, Nicholas Clipson, Karrie Melville, Geoffrey M. Gadd, Frank P. McDermott

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93 Citations (Scopus)


This study exploited the contrasting major element chemistry of a pegmatitic granite to investigate mineralogical influences on bacterial community structure. Intact crystals of variably weathered muscovite, plagioclase, K-feldspar, and quartz were extracted, together with whole-rock granite. Environmental scanning electron microscopy revealed a diversity of bacterial structures, with rods and cocci clearly visible on surfaces of all mineral types. Bacterial automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis was used to generate a ribotype profile for each mineral. A randomization test revealed that community fingerprints differed between different mineral types, whereas canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) showed that mineral chemistry affected individual bacterial ribotypes. CCA also revealed that Al, Si, and Ca had a significant impact on bacterial community structure within the system, which contrasts with the finding within fungal communities that although Al and Si also had a significant impact, K rather than Ca was important. The bacterial populations associated with different minerals were different. Members of each of these populations were found almost exclusively on a single mineral type, as was previously reported for fungal populations. These results show that bacterial community structure was driven by the chemical composition of minerals, indicating selective pressure by individual chemical elements on bacterial populations in situ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-534
Number of pages9
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number4
Early online date29 Apr 2006
Publication statusPublished - May 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology
  • Microbiology


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