Molecular analysis of a sulphate-reducing consortium used to treat metal-containing effluents

C. Boothman, S. Hockin, D. E. Holmes, G. M. Gadd, J. R. Lloyd (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-609
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • 16S rRNA analysis
  • Biofilm
  • Desulfomicrobium sp.
  • Metal bioremediation
  • Molecular ecology
  • Sulphate-reducing bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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