Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 100, Issue 17, pp 7751–7763 | Cite as

Microbial diversity and community structure in an antimony-rich tailings dump

  • Enzong Xiao
  • Valdis Krumins
  • Yiran Dong
  • Tangfu XiaoEmail author
  • Zengping Ning
  • Qingxiang Xiao
  • Weimin SunEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


To assess the impact of antimony (Sb) on microbial community structure, 12 samples were taken from an Sb tailings pile in Guizhou Province, Southwest China. All 12 samples exhibited elevated Sb concentrations, but the mobile and bioaccessible fractions were small in comparison to total Sb concentrations. Besides the geochemical analyses, microbial communities inhabiting the tailing samples were characterized to investigate the interplay between the microorganisms and environmental factors in mine tailings. In all samples, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were the most dominant phyla. At the genus level, Thiobacillus, Limnobacter, Nocardioides, Lysobacter, Phormidium, and Kaistobacter demonstrated relatively high abundances. The two most abundant genera, Thiobacillus and Limnobacter, are characterized as sulfur-oxidizing bacteria and thiosulfate-oxidizing bacteria, respectively, while the genus Lysobacter contains arsenic (As)-resistant bacteria. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicates that TOC and the sulfate to sulfide ratio strongly shaped the microbial communities, suggesting the influence of the environmental factors in the indigenous microbial communities.


Illumina sequencing Antimony Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria Canonical correspondence analysis 


Compliance with ethical standards


This research was funded by the Public Welfare Foundation of the Ministry of Water Resources of China (201501011), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41103080, 41173028), the Opening Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry (SKLEG2015907), and Guangdong Academy of Sciences (REN [2015] 20).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2016_7598_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (224 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 223 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enzong Xiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Valdis Krumins
    • 3
  • Yiran Dong
    • 4
  • Tangfu Xiao
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Zengping Ning
    • 1
  • Qingxiang Xiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Weimin Sun
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Environmental GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  4. 4.Department of GeologyUniversity of Illinois-Urbana ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  5. 5.Innovation Center and Key Laboratory of Waters Safety & Protection in the Pearl River Delta, Ministry of EducationGuangzhou UniversityGuiyangPeople’s Republic of China
  6. 6.Department of Microbiology and BiochemistryRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  7. 7.Guangdong Institute of Eco-environment and Soil SciencesGuangzhouChina

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