A sulphate-reducing consortium used in a bioprocess to remove toxic metals from solution as insoluble sulphides, was characterised using molecular (PCR-based) and traditional culturing techniques. After prolonged cultivation under anoxic biofilm-forming conditions, the mixed culture contained a low diversity of sulphate-reducing bacteria, dominated by one strain closely related to Desulfomicrobium norvegicum, identified by three independent PCR-based analyses. The genetic targets used were the 16S rRNA gene, the 16S-23S rRNA gene intergenic spacer region and the disulfite reductase (dsr) gene, which is conserved amongst all known sulphate-reducing bacteria. This organism was also isolated by conventional anaerobic techniques, confirming its presence in the mixed culture. A surprising diversity of other non-sulphate-reducing facultative and obligate anaerobes were detected, supporting a model of the symbiotic/commensal nature of carbon and energy fluxes in such a mixed culture while suggesting the physiological capacity for a wide range of biotransformations by this stable microbial consortium.
- 16S rRNA analysis
- Desulfomicrobium sp.
- Metal bioremediation
- Molecular ecology
- Sulphate-reducing bacteria
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology