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Title: Microbial mineral colonization across a subsurface redox transition zone

Here our study employed 16S rRNA gene amplicon pyrosequencing to examine the hypothesis that chemolithotrophic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) would preferentially colonize the Fe(II)-bearing mineral biotite compared to quartz sand when the minerals were incubated in situ within a subsurface redox transition zone (RTZ) at the Hanford 300 Area site in Richland, WA, USA. The work was motivated by the recently documented presence of neutral-pH chemolithotrophic FeOB capable of oxidizing structural Fe(II) in primary silicate and secondary phyllosilicate minerals in 300 Area sediments and groundwater (Benzine et al., 2013). Sterilized portions of sand+biotite or sand alone were incubated in situ for 5 months within a multilevel sampling (MLS) apparatus that spanned a ca. 2-m interval across the RTZ in two separate groundwater wells. Parallel MLS measurements of aqueous geochemical species were performed prior to deployment of the minerals. Contrary to expectations, the 16S rRNA gene libraries showed no significant difference in microbial communities that colonized the sand+biotite vs. sand-only deployments. Both mineral-associated and groundwater communities were dominated by heterotrophic taxa, with organisms from the Pseudomonadaceae accounting for up to 70% of all reads from the colonized minerals. These results are consistent with previous results indicating the capacity for heterotrophic metabolism (includingmore » anaerobic metabolism below the RTZ) as well as the predominance of heterotrophic taxa within 300 Area sediments and groundwater. Although heterotrophic organisms clearly dominated the colonized minerals, several putative lithotrophic (NH4+, H2, Fe(II), and HS- oxidizing) taxa were detected in significant abundance above and within the RTZ. Such organisms may play a role in the coupling of anaerobic microbial metabolism to oxidative pathways with attendant impacts on elemental cycling and redox-sensitive contaminant behavior in the vicinity of the RTZ.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Microbiology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X
Frontiers Research Foundation
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES subsurface sediments; redox transition; minerals; colonization; amplicon sequencing