An Archaeal Iron-Oxidizing Extreme Acidophile Important in Acid Mine Drainage

Science  10 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5459, pp. 1796-1799
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5459.1796

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A new species of Archaea grows at pH ∼0.5 and ∼40°C in slime streamers and attached to pyrite surfaces at a sulfide ore body, Iron Mountain, California. This iron-oxidizing Archaeon is capable of growth at pH 0. This species represents a dominant prokaryote in the environment studied (slimes and sediments) and constituted up to 85% of the microbial community when solution concentrations were high (conductivity of 100 to 160 millisiemens per centimeter). The presence of this and other closely relatedThermoplasmales suggests that these acidophiles are important contributors to acid mine drainage and may substantially impact iron and sulfur cycles.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA. E-mail: kedwards{at}

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