, Volume 78, Issue 6, pp 1079-1088
Date: 11 Mar 2008

Extraction of extracellular polymeric substances from extreme acidic microbial biofilms

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The efficiency of five extraction methods for extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) was compared on three benthic eukaryotic biofilms isolated from an extreme acidic river, Río Tinto (SW, Spain). Three chemical methods (MilliQ water, NaCl, and ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid [EDTA]) and two physical methods (Dowex 50.8 and Crown Ether cation exchange resins) were tested. The quality and quantity of the EPS extracted from acidic biofilms varied according to which EPS extraction protocol was used. Higher amounts were obtained when NaCl and Crown Ether resins were used as extractant agents, followed by EDTA, Dowex, and MilliQ. EPS amounts varied from approximately 155 to 478 mg g−1 of dry weight depending on the extraction method and biofilm analyzed. EPS were primarily composed of carbohydrate, heavy metals, and humic acid, plus small quantities of proteins and DNA. Neutral hexose concentrations corresponded to more than 90% of the total EPS dry weight. The proportions of each metals in the EPS extracted with EDTA are similar to the proportions present in the water from each locality where the biofilms were collected except for Al, Cu, Zn, and Pb. In this study, the extracellular matrix heavy metal sorption efficiencies of five methods for extracting EPS from eukaryotic acidic biofilms were compared.