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Isolation and the interaction between a mineral-weathering Rhizobium tropici Q34 and silicate minerals

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The purposes of this study were to isolate and evaluate the interaction between mineral-weathering bacteria and silicate minerals (feldspar and biotite). A mineral-weathering bacterium was isolated from weathered rocks and identified as Rhizobium tropici Q34 based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. Si and K concentrations were increased by 1.3- to 4.0-fold and 1.1- to 1.7-fold in the live bacterium-inoculated cultures compared with the controls respectively. Significant increases in the productions of tartaric and succinic acids and extracellular polysaccharides by strain Q34 were observed in cultures with minerals. Furthermore, significantly more tartaric acid and polysaccharide productions by strain Q34 were obtained in the presence of feldspar, while better growth and more citric acid production of strain Q34 were observed in the presence of biotite. Mineral dissolution experiments showed that the organic acids and polysaccharides produced by strain Q34 were also capable of promoting the release of Si and K from the minerals. The results showed that the growth and metabolite production of strain Q34 were enhanced in the presence of the minerals and different mineral exerted distinct impacts on the growth and metabolite production. The bio-weathering process is probably a synergistic action of organic acids and extracellular polysaccharides produced by the bacterium.

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Support was provided by the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (41071173, 41473075).

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Correspondence to Xia Fang Sheng.

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Wang, R.R., Wang, Q., He, L.Y. et al. Isolation and the interaction between a mineral-weathering Rhizobium tropici Q34 and silicate minerals. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 31, 747–753 (2015).

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