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Bacterial Survival Strategies in an Alkaline Tailing Site and the Physiological Mechanisms of Dominant Phylotypes As Revealed by Metagenomic Analyses

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posted on 22.10.2018, 00:00 by Weimin Sun, Enzong Xiao, Max Häggblom, Valdis Krumins, Yiran Dong, Xiaoxu Sun, Fangbai Li, Qi Wang, Baoqin Li, Bei Yan
Microorganisms inhabiting mine tailings require specific metabolic strategies to survive, which may hold potential for pollution clean up. Effective in situ bioremediation will rely on an in-depth understanding of the function of the bacterial communities, especially the abundant and metabolically active phylotypes. In this study, the bacterial communities collected from an alkaline tailing site were profiled by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing as well as shotgun metagenomic analysis. Our results indicated that potentials for carbon and nitrogen fixation as well as metal resistance and transformation were widespread among the bacterial community members, especially in highly enriched phylotypes, such as members of Thiobacillus and Meiothermus. Important functional microbial guilds including carbon and nitrogen fixers may contribute to phytoremediation by providing nutrients for hyperaccumulator plants. In addition, metal-metabolizing bacteria may influence metal speciation and solubility. This discovery provides an understanding for microbial survival strategies in the tailings and lays the foundation for future potential manipulation of the tailing microbiome for in situ bioremediation.

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