A1 Journal article (refereed)
Abundant and diverse arsenic‐metabolizing microorganisms in peatlands treating arsenic‐contaminated mining wastewaters (2020)

Kujala, K., Besold, J., Mikkonen, A., Tiirola, M., & Planer-Friedrich, B. (2020). Abundant and diverse arsenic‐metabolizing microorganisms in peatlands treating arsenic‐contaminated mining wastewaters. Environmental Microbiology, 22(4), 1572-1587. https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.14922

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kujala, Katharina; Besold, Johannes; Mikkonen, Anu; Tiirola, Marja; Planer-Friedrich, Britta

Journal or series: Environmental Microbiology

ISSN: 1462-2912

eISSN: 1462-2920

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 22

Issue number: 4

Pages range: 1572-1587

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.14922

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67596


Mining operations produce large quantities of wastewater. At a mine site in Northern Finland, two natural peatlands are used for the treatment of mining‐influenced waters with high concentrations of sulfate and potentially toxic arsenic (As). In the present study, As removal and the involved microbial processes in those treatment peatlands (TPs) were assessed. Arsenic‐metabolizing microorganisms were abundant in peat soil from both TPs (up to 108 cells gdw‐1), with arsenate respirers being about 100 times more abundant than arsenite oxidizers. In uninhibited microcosm incubations, supplemented arsenite was oxidized under oxic conditions and supplemented arsenate was reduced under anoxic conditions, while little to no oxidation/reduction was observed in NaN3‐inhibited microcosms, indicating high As‐turnover potential of peat microbes. Formation of thioarsenates was observed in anoxic microcosms. Sequencing of the functional genemarkers aioA (arsenite oxidizers), arrA (arsenate respirers), and arsC (detoxifying arsenate reducers) demonstrated high diversity of the As‐metabolizing microbial community. The microbial community composition differed between the two TPs, which may have affected As removal efficiencies. In the present situation, arsenate reduction is likely the dominant net process and contributes substantially to As removal. Changes in TP usage (e.g. mine closure) with lowered water tables and heightened oxygen availability in peat might lead to reoxidation and remobilization of bound arsenite.

Keywords: sewage; mines (quarries); mine water; arsenic; peatlands; microorganisms; bioremediation

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 14:55