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Phylogeny of Bacteria from Steelmaking Wastes and Their Acidic Enrichment Cultures

DOI: 10.4236/aim.2014.412090, PP. 816-828

Keywords: Bacteria, 16S rRNA, Diversity, Zinc, Steelmaking Wastes

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Abstract:

Currently, millions of tons of steel are produced worldwide. This has become a serious economic and environmental challenge because the ores used for steel production are nonrenewable resources and the production generates huge amount of waste. In this study, we identified and investigated the ability of bacteria from steelmaking waste with low and high zinc concentration to promote leaching of zinc, when enriched by acidic (pH 2) culture conditions. The bioleaching assays indicated removal of Zn, as in chemical leaching. Bacterial communities from crude and enrichment culture wastes were characterized by the 16S rRNA gene. Phylogenetic analysis of the generated clone libraries revealed predominance of Proteobacteria and Firmicutes. The Actino- bacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, and Deinococcus-Thermus phyla were also encountered. The clones were most closely related to cultivable heterotrophic bacteria. Different genera were identified including iron redox cycling and leaching bacteria such as Chromobacterium, Aeromonas, Escherichia, Bacillus, and Ochrobactrum. These data add significant new information on bacteria which survive in extremely acidic conditions. They are distantly related to typical acidophiles responsible for the leaching process, which makes them good candidates for future studies on metal bioleaching.

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