Characterization of iron-metabolizing communities in soils contaminated by acid mine drainage from an abandoned coal mine in Southwest China

Abstract

Acid mine discharge (AMD) has been demonstrated to have significant impacts on microbial community composition in the surrounding soil environment. However, their effect on adjacent soil has not been extensively studied. In this study, microbial community composition of 20 AMD-contaminated soil samples collected from an abandoned coal mine along an AMD creek was characterized using high-throughput sequencing. All samples were characterized as extremely low in pH (< 3) and relatively enriched in HCl-extractable Fe species. The dominant phylotypes were belonging to genera Ochrobactrum, Acidiphilium, Staphylococcus, Brevibacterium, and Corynebacterium. Canonical correspondence analysis results revealed that the HCl-extractable Fe(III) had a strong impact on the soil microbial assemblage. Co-occurrence network analysis revealed that Aquicella, Acidobacteriaceae, Ochrobactrum, Enhydrobacter, Sphingomonas, and Legionellales were actively correlated with other taxa. As expected, most of the abundant taxa have been reported as acidophilic Fe-metabolizing bacteria. Hence, a co-occurring sub-network and a phylogenetic tree related to microbial taxa responsible for Fe metabolism were constructed and described. The biotic interaction showed that Dechloromonas exhibited densely connections with Fe(III)-reducing bacteria of Comamonas, Burkholderia, Shewanella, Stenotrophomonas, Acidithiobacillus, and Pseudomonas. These results demonstrated that Fe-metabolizing bacteria could have an important role in the Fe biogeochemical cycling.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Hanna Han and her team from Shenzhen Ecogene Co., Ltd. for NGS technical service.

Funding

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41771301, 41420104007), the High-level Leading Talent Introduction Program of GDAS (2016GDASRC-0103), GDAS’ Special Project of Science and Technology Development (2018GDASCX-0601 and 2017GDASCX-0106), the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (2016B070701015), and the Guangxi Innovation Drive Development Fund (AA17204076).

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Correspondence to Weimin Sun.

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Gao, P., Sun, X., Xiao, E. et al. Characterization of iron-metabolizing communities in soils contaminated by acid mine drainage from an abandoned coal mine in Southwest China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 9585–9598 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-04336-6

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Keywords

  • Acid mine drainage
  • Microbial community
  • Fe-metabolizing bacteria
  • Co-occurrence network