Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Castro C., Zhanh R., Liu J., Bellenberg S., Neu T.R., Donati E., Sand W. annd Vera M. (2016)

Biofilm formation and interspecies interactions in mixed cultures of thermo-acidophilic archaea Acidianus spp. and Sulfolobus metallicus

Revista : Research in Microbiology
Volumen : 167
Número : 7
Páginas : 604-612
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The understanding of biofilm formation by bioleaching microorganisms is of great importance for influencing mineral dissolution rates and to prevent acid mine drainage (AMD). Thermo-acidophilic archaea such as Acidianus, Sulfolobus and Metallosphaera are of special interest due to their ability to perform leaching at high temperatures, thereby enhancing leaching rates. In this work, leaching experiments and visualization by microscopy of cell attachment and biofilm formation patterns of the crenarchaeotes Sulfolobus metallicus DSM 6482T and the Acidianus isolates DSM 29038 and DSM 29099 in pure and mixed cultures on sulfur or pyrite were studied. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) combined with fluorescent dyes as well as fluorescently labeled lectins were used to visualize different components (e.g. DNA, proteins or glycoconjugates) of the aforementioned species. The data indicate that cell attachment and the subsequently formed biofilms were species- and substrate-dependent. Pyrite leaching experiments coupled with pre-colonization and further inoculation with a second species suggest that both species may negatively influence each other during pyrite leaching with respect to initial attachment and pyrite dissolution rates. In addition, the investigation of binary biofilms on pyrite showed that both species were heterogeneously distributed on pyrite surfaces in the form of individual cells or microcolonies. Physical contact between the two species seems to occur, as revealed by specific lectins able to specifically bind single species within mixed cultures.