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Background Conditions and Mining Pollution throughout History in the Río Tinto (SW Spain)

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Environments

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      Microbial ecology of an extreme acidic environment, the Tinto River.

      The Tinto River (Huelva, southwestern Spain) is an extreme environment with a rather constant acidic pH along the entire river and a high concentration of heavy metals. The extreme conditions of the Tinto ecosystem are generated by the metabolic activity of chemolithotrophic microorganisms thriving in the rich complex sulfides of the Iberian Pyrite Belt. Molecular ecology techniques were used to analyze the diversity of this microbial community. The community's composition was studied by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) using 16S rRNA and by 16S rRNA gene amplification. A good correlation between the two approaches was found. Comparative sequence analysis of DGGE bands showed the presence of organisms related to Leptospirillum spp., Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, Acidiphilium spp., "Ferrimicrobium acidiphilum," Ferroplasma acidiphilum, and Thermoplasma acidophilum. The different phylogenetic groups were quantified by fluorescent in situ hybridization with a set of rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes. More than 80% of the cells were affiliated with the domain Bacteria, with only a minor fraction corresponding to Archaea. Members of Leptospirillum ferrooxidans, Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, and Acidiphilium spp., all related to the iron cycle, accounted for most of the prokaryotic microorganisms detected. Different isolates of these microorganisms were obtained from the Tinto ecosystem, and their physiological properties were determined. Given the physicochemical characteristics of the habitat and the physiological properties and relative concentrations of the different prokaryotes found in the river, a model for the Tinto ecosystem based on the iron cycle is suggested.
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        The Río Tinto Basin, Spain: Mineralogy, sedimentary geobiology, and implications for interpretation of outcrop rocks at Meridiani Planum, Mars

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          Lead from Carthaginian and Roman Spanish Mines Isotopically Identified in Greenland Ice Dated from 600 B.C. to 300 A.D.†

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Environments
            Environments
            MDPI AG
            2076-3298
            December 2015
            June 26 2015
            : 2
            : 4
            : 295-316
            10.3390/environments2030295
            © 2015

            https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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            Self URI (article page): http://www.mdpi.com/2076-3298/2/3/295

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