Characterization of a bacterial community in an abandoned semiarid lead-zinc mine tailing site

Monica O. Mendez, Julia W. Neilson, Raina M. Maier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Bacterial diversity in mine tailing microbial communities has not been thoroughly investigated despite the correlations that have been observed between the relative microbial diversity and the success of revegetation efforts at tailing sites. This study employed phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA genes to compare the bacterial communities present in highly disturbed, extremely (pH 2.7) and moderately (pH 5.7) acidic lead-zinc mine tailing samples from a semiarid environment with those from a vegetated off-site (OS) control sample (pH 8). Phylotype richness in these communities decreased from 42 in the OS control to 24 in the moderately acidic samples and 8 in the extremely acidic tailing samples. The clones in the extremely acidic tailing sample were most closely related to acidophiles, none of which were detected in the OS control sample. The comparison generated by this study between the bacteria present in extremely acidic tailing and that in moderately acidic tailing communities with those in an OS control soil provides a reference point from which to evaluate the successful restoration of mine tailing disposal sites by phytostabilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3899-3907
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of a bacterial community in an abandoned semiarid lead-zinc mine tailing site'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this