[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An extremely acidophilic sulfur-oxidizing bacterium was isolated from an industrial-scale bioheap of the Zijinshan copper mine and was named ZJJN. A tuft of flagella and a layer of thick capsule outside the cell envelope were clearly observed under transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which might be closely related to the extremely acid-proof capacity of ZJJN cells in the bioleaching system; 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) phylogeny showed that the isolated strain was highly homologous to the genera of Acidithiobacillus. The optimum temperature of ZJJN was determined at 30 °C and pH at 1.0. It was capable of growth at even pH 0. Strain ZJJN can utilize reduced sulfur as an energy source but not with organics or ferrous ion. Strain ZJJN was sensitive to all antibiotics with different concentrations; when it showed a certain resistance to different concentrations of Cu(2+). In the mixed strains of ZJJN and A. ferrooxidans system (initial pH 1.0), the copper-leaching efficiency was up to 60.1 %, which was far higher than other systems. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis showed that less jarosite precipitation was produced in the most efficient system. The extremely acidophilic strain ZJJN would be of great potential in the application of chalcopyrite bioleaching.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans is a Gram-negative, acidophilic, and chemolithotrophic bacterium that is active in bioleaching. The leaching efficacy is directly influenced by the biomass changes of this specie in bioleaching microbial community. In order to perform a simple and sensitive assay on A. ferrooxidans from mixed strains in this process, a novel assay was developed based on sandwich hybridization assay with the aid of S1 nuclease treatment and fluorescent labeling. In the work, a designed DNA probe complementary to the conservative region of its 16S rRNA was synthesized, which showed high accuracy for distinguishing homologous species with the exclusion of even-only two base pairs difference. The specificity of this assay was verified in different systems with mixed strains, and the quantitative result was proved by comparison of microscopic cell counting. The detection sensitivity was about 8 × 10(2) cells/ml and the inter-assay coefficient of variation of three independent assays was from 3.8 to 7.7 %, respectively. In addition, the cycle of assay was about 3-4 h when the cost estimated was less than $0.5 per sample. This assay method might be applied for identifying and monitoring any kind of bacterial strain from a mixed microbial flora in bioleaching or other areas.