In-depth characterization of bacterial and archaeal communities present in the abandoned Kettara pyrrhotite mine tailings (Morocco)
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In Morocco, pollution caused by closed mines continues to be a serious threat to the environment, like the generation of acid mine drainage. Mine drainage is produced by environmental and microbial oxidation of sulfur minerals originating from mine wastes. The fundamental role of microbial communities is well known, like implication of Fe-oxidizing and to a lesser extent S-oxidizing microorganism in bioleaching. However, the structure of the microbial communities varies a lot from one site to another, like diversity depends on many factors such as mineralogy, concentration of metals and metalloids or pH, etc. In this study, prokaryotic communities in the pyrrhotite-rich tailings of Kettara mine were characterized using the Illumina sequencing. In-depth phylogenetic analysis revealed a total of 12 phyla of bacteria and 1 phyla of Archaea. The majority of sequences belonged to the phylum of Proteobacteria and Firmicutes with a predominance of Bacillus, Pseudomonas or Corynebacterium genera. Many microbial populations are implicated in the iron, sulfur and arsenic cycles, like Acidiferrobacter, Leptospirillum, or Alicyclobacillus in Fe; Acidiferrobacter and Sulfobacillus in S; and Bacillus or Pseudomonas in As. This is one of the first description of prokaryotic communities in pyrrhotite-rich mine tailings using high-throughput sequencing.
KeywordsMicrobial diversity Pyrrhotite-rich tailings Intermittent acid mine drainage Illumina sequencing Kettara mine
The authors thank the International Research Chairs Initiative funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, and by the Canada Research Chairs program and the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) for supporting this research.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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