Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 22, pp 9803–9813 | Cite as

Hydraulic retention time affects bacterial community structure in an As-rich acid mine drainage (AMD) biotreatment process

  • Lidia Fernandez-Rojo
  • Corinne Casiot
  • Vincent Tardy
  • Elia Laroche
  • Pierre Le Pape
  • Guillaume Morin
  • Catherine Joulian
  • Fabienne Battaglia-Brunet
  • Charlotte Braungardt
  • Angélique Desoeuvre
  • Sophie Delpoux
  • Jolanda Boisson
  • Marina Héry
Environmental biotechnology


Arsenic removal consecutive to biological iron oxidation and precipitation is an effective process for treating As-rich acid mine drainage (AMD). We studied the effect of hydraulic retention time (HRT)—from 74 to 456 min—in a bench-scale bioreactor exploiting such process. The treatment efficiency was monitored during 19 days, and the final mineralogy and bacterial communities of the biogenic precipitates were characterized by X-ray absorption spectroscopy and high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The percentage of Fe(II) oxidation (10–47%) and As removal (19–37%) increased with increasing HRT. Arsenic was trapped in the biogenic precipitates as As(III)-bearing schwertmannite and amorphous ferric arsenate, with a decrease of As/Fe ratio with increasing HRT. The bacterial community in the biogenic precipitate was dominated by Fe-oxidizing bacteria whatever the HRT. The proportion of Gallionella and Ferrovum genera shifted from respectively 65 and 12% at low HRT to 23 and 51% at high HRT, in relation with physicochemical changes in the treated water. aioA genes and Thiomonas genus were detected at all HRT although As(III) oxidation was not evidenced. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of the role of HRT as a driver of bacterial community structure in bioreactors exploiting microbial Fe(II) oxidation for AMD treatment.


Iron-oxidizing bacteria Biogenic precipitate Gallionella Ferrovum Arsenic removal As(III) oxidation 



The authors thank the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) (IngECOST-DMA project, ANR-13-ECOT-0009), the OSU OREME (SO POLLUMINE Observatory, funded since 2009), and the Ecole Doctorale GAIA (PhD fellowship of Lidia Fernandez-Rojo, 2014-2017) for the financial support. We thank Remi Freydier for ICP-MS analysis on the AETE-ISO platform (OSU OREME, University of Montpellier). We thank Christophe Duperray, from the Montpellier RIO Imaging microscopy platform, for his kind assistance in cytometry. Mickaël Charron from BRGM is gratefully acknowledged for its technical assistance on aioA gene quantification. We also thank Luca Olivi from the XAFS beamline at the ELETTRA synchrotron (Trieste, Italy).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

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

Supplementary material

253_2018_9290_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (837 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 836 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lidia Fernandez-Rojo
    • 1
  • Corinne Casiot
    • 1
  • Vincent Tardy
    • 1
  • Elia Laroche
    • 1
  • Pierre Le Pape
    • 2
  • Guillaume Morin
    • 2
  • Catherine Joulian
    • 3
  • Fabienne Battaglia-Brunet
    • 3
  • Charlotte Braungardt
    • 1
    • 4
  • Angélique Desoeuvre
    • 1
  • Sophie Delpoux
    • 1
  • Jolanda Boisson
    • 5
  • Marina Héry
    • 1
  1. 1.HydroSciences MontpellierUniv. Montpellier-CNRS-IRDMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Institut de Minéralogie, de Physique des Matériaux et de Cosmochimie (IMPMC)UMR 7590 CNRS-UPMC-IRD-MNHNParis cedex 05France
  3. 3.Geomicrobiology and Environmental Monitoring UnitFrench Geological Survey (BRGM)Orléans Cedex 2France
  4. 4.School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science & Engineering)Plymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  5. 5.IRH Ingénieur ConseilAnteagroupToulouseFrance

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