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Evolution of Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans secreting alginate during bioleaching of chalcopyrite concentrate

Yu, R.‐L., Liu, A., Liu, Y., Yu, Z., Peng, T., Wu, X., Shen, L., Liu, Y., Li, J., Liu, X., Qiu, G., Chen, M., Zeng, W.
Journal of applied microbiology 2017 v.122 no.6 pp. 1586-1594
Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans, alginates, bioleaching, biosynthesis, confocal laser scanning microscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, gene expression, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, synthetic genes
AIMS: To explore the distribution disciplinarian of alginate on the chalcopyrite concentrate surface during bioleaching. METHODS AND RESULTS: The evolution of Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans secreting alginate during bioleaching of chalcopyrite concentrate was investigated through gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC‐MS) and confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM), and the critical synthetic genes (algA, algC, algD) of alginate were analysed by real‐time polymerase chain reaction (RT‐PCR). The GC‐MS analysis results indicated that there was a little amount of alginate formed on the mineral surface at the early stage, while increasing largely to the maximum value at the intermediate stage, and then kept a stable value at the end stage. The CLSM analysis of chalcopyrite slice showed the same variation trend of alginate content on the mineral surface. Furthermore, the RT‐PCR results showed that during the early stage of bioleaching, the expressions of the algA, algC and the algD genes were all overexpressed. However, at the final stage, the algD gene expression decreased in a large scale, and the algA and algC decreased slightly. This expression pattern was attributed to the fact that algA and algC genes were involved in several biosynthesis reactions, but the algD gene only participated in the alginate biosynthesis and this was considered as the key gene to control alginate synthesis. CONCLUSIONS: The content of alginate on the mineral surface increased largely at the beginning of bioleaching, and remained stable at the end of bioleaching due to the restriction of algD gene expression. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Our findings provide valuable information to explore the relationship between alginate formation and bioleaching of chalcopyrite.