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Temperature dependence of Fe(III) and sulfate reduction rates and its effect on growth and composition of bacterial enrichments from an acidic pit lake neutralization experiment

Authors

  • J. MEIER,

    1. UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle GmbH, Department of Lake Research, Brückstr. 3a, 39114 Magdeburg, Germany
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  • R. COSTA,

    1. Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Institute for Microbiology, Plant Virology and Biosafety, Messeweg 11-12, 38104 Braunschweig, Germany
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  • K. SMALLA,

    1. Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Institute for Microbiology, Plant Virology and Biosafety, Messeweg 11-12, 38104 Braunschweig, Germany
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  • B. BOEHRER,

    1. UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle GmbH, Department of Lake Research, Brückstr. 3a, 39114 Magdeburg, Germany
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  • K. WENDT-POTTHOFF

    1. UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle GmbH, Department of Lake Research, Brückstr. 3a, 39114 Magdeburg, Germany
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Corresponding author: Dr. J. Meier. Tel.: +49-(0)391-8109405; fax: +49-(0)391-8109150; e-mail: jutta.meier@ufz.de.

ABSTRACT

Microbial Fe(III) and sulfate reduction are important electron transport processes in acidic pit lakes and stimulation by the addition of organic substrates is a strategy to remove acidity, iron and sulfate. This principle was applied in a pilot-scale enclosure in pit lake 111 (Brandenburg, Germany). Because seasonal and spatial variation of temperature may affect the performance of in situ experiments considerably, the influence of temperature on Fe(III) and sulfate reduction was investigated in surface sediments from the enclosure in the range of 4–28 °C. Potential Fe(III) reduction and sulfate reduction rates increased exponentially with temperature, and the effect was quantified in terms of the apparent activation energy Ea measuring 42–46 kJ mol−1 and 52 kJ mol−1, respectively. Relatively high respiration rates at 4 °C and relatively low Q10 values (∼2) indicated that microbial communities were well adapted to low temperatures. In order to evaluate the effect of temperature on growth and enrichment of iron and sulfate-reducing bacterial populations, MPN (Most Probable Number) dilution series were performed in media selecting for the different bacterial groups. While the temperature response of specific growth rates of acidophilic iron reducers showed mesophilic characteristics, the relatively high specific growth rates of sulfate reducers at the lowest incubation temperature indicated the presence of moderate psychrophilic bacteria. In contrast, the low cell numbers and low specific growth rates of neutrophilic iron reducers obtained in dilution cultures suggest that these populations play a less significant role in Fe and S cycling in these sediments. SSCP (Single-Strand Conformation Polymorphism) or DGGE (Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis) fingerprinting based on 16S rRNA genes of Bacteria indicated different bacterial populations in the MPN dilution series exhibiting different temperature ranges for growth.

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