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Selective Adhesion of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans to Pyrite

By Naoya Ohmura, Keiko Kitamura and Hiroshi Saiki


Bacterial adhesion to mineral surfaces plays an important role not only in bacterial survival in natural ecosystems, but also in mining industry applications. Selective adhesion was investigated with Thiobacillus ferrooxidans by using four minerals, pyrite, quartz, chalcopyrite, and galena. Escherichia coli was used as a control bacterium. Contact angles were used as indicators of hydrophobicity, which was an important factor in the interaction between minerals and bacteria. The contact angle of E. coli in a 0.5% sodium chloride solution was 31°, and the contact angle of T. ferrooxidans in a pH 2.0 sulfuric acid solution was 23°. E. coli tended to adhere to more hydrophobic minerals by hydrophobic interaction, while T. ferrooxidans selectively adhered to iron-containing minerals, such as pyrite and chalcopyrite. Ferrous ion inhibited the selective adhesion of T. ferrooxidans to pyrite competitively, while ferric ion scarcely inhibited such adhesion. When selective adhesion was quenched by ferrous ion completely, adhesion of T. ferrooxidans was controlled by hydrophilic interactions. Adhesion of E. coli to pyrite exhibited a liner relationship on langmuir isotherm plots, but adhesion of T. ferrooxidans did not. T. ferrooxidans recognized the reduced iron in minerals and selectively adhered to pyrite and chalcopyrite by a strong interaction other than the physical interaction

Topics: General Microbial Ecology
Year: 1993
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:195865
Provided by: PubMed Central
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