Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.3390/microorganisms9122529
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) High potential for anaerobic microbial sulfur oxidation in oil sands tailings ponds
Author Stasik, S.; Schmidt, J.; Wendt-Potthoff, K. ORCID logo
Source Titel Microorganisms
Year 2021
Department SEEFO
Volume 9
Issue 12
Page From art. 2529
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords oil sands tailings ponds; anaerobic sulfur oxidation; sulfur-oxidizing bacteria; thiosulfate oxidation; microbial activity
Abstract The biogenic production of toxic H2S gas in sulfate-rich oil sands tailings ponds is associated with strong environmental concerns. Beside precipitation into sulfide minerals and chemical re-oxidation, microbial sulfur oxidation may catalyze sulfide re-cycling but potentially contributes to acid rock drainage (ARD) generation. To evaluate the microbial potential for sulfur oxidation, we conducted a microcosm-based pilot study with tailings of an active pond. Incubations were performed under oxic and anoxic conditions, with and without KNO3 as an electron acceptor and thiosulfate as a common substrate for microbial sulfur oxidation. The highest potentials of sulfur oxidation occurred in oxic assays (1.21 mmol L−1 day−1). Under anoxic conditions, rates were significantly lower and dominated by chemical transformation (0.09 mmol L−1 day−1; p < 0.0001). The addition of KNO3 to anoxic incubations increased microbial thiosulfate oxidation 2.5-fold (0.23 mmol L−1 day−1; p = 0.0474), with complete transformation to SO42− coupled to NO3 consumption, pointing to the activity of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (SOB) under nitrate-reducing conditions. Importantly, in the presence of KNO3, a decrease in sedimentary sulfides was associated with an increase in S0, which indicates the potential for microbially mediated oxidation of sulfide minerals and ARD generation. Furthermore, the comparative analysis of sediments from other anthropogenic aquatic habitats demonstrated high similarities with respect to viable SOB counts and corresponding activity rates.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Stasik, S., Schmidt, J., Wendt-Potthoff, K. (2021):
High potential for anaerobic microbial sulfur oxidation in oil sands tailings ponds
Microorganisms 9 (12), art. 2529 10.3390/microorganisms9122529