Event Title

Role of Sulfur-reducign Bacteria in Acid Mine Drainage and Methylmercury Production

Presenter Information

Brian Rothbard

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Tammy Tobin

Start Date

24-4-2018 12:00 PM

End Date

24-4-2018 1:00 PM

Description

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is a result of the exposure of pyritic compounds to air, water and bacteria during and after mining activity. The chemical reaction that takes place during this exposure produces massive amounts of hydrogen cations, and the rate-limiting step is catalyzed by sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (SOB). Attempts to passively remediate AMD focus on sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB), as their metabolism can be exploited to reduce the oxidized sulfur, raise alkalinity and precipitate heavy metals found in mine effluents. It is also thought that SRB’s are responsible for the production of methylmercury, the most bioavailable mercury-compound. This is a two-pronged study intended to investigate the role of sulfur-reducing bacteria in the production of AMD and methylmercury in mine-impacted waterways and AMD remediation sites in central Pennsylvania (Centralia and Shamokin). We take a molecular approach, using a commercial environmental DNA isolation kit and PCR to look for and amplify three genes involved in sulfur reduction, sulfur oxidation and mercury metabolism (DSR, SOXA1, and HgcAB, respectively). Preliminary results suggest the presence of DSR and SOXA1, but not HgcAB in mine drainage pools in Centralia, and none of the target genes at the Shamokin remediation site. Ongoing research has identified at least one more DSR primer that has amplified the target region of a positive control.

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Apr 24th, 12:00 PM Apr 24th, 1:00 PM

Role of Sulfur-reducign Bacteria in Acid Mine Drainage and Methylmercury Production

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is a result of the exposure of pyritic compounds to air, water and bacteria during and after mining activity. The chemical reaction that takes place during this exposure produces massive amounts of hydrogen cations, and the rate-limiting step is catalyzed by sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (SOB). Attempts to passively remediate AMD focus on sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB), as their metabolism can be exploited to reduce the oxidized sulfur, raise alkalinity and precipitate heavy metals found in mine effluents. It is also thought that SRB’s are responsible for the production of methylmercury, the most bioavailable mercury-compound. This is a two-pronged study intended to investigate the role of sulfur-reducing bacteria in the production of AMD and methylmercury in mine-impacted waterways and AMD remediation sites in central Pennsylvania (Centralia and Shamokin). We take a molecular approach, using a commercial environmental DNA isolation kit and PCR to look for and amplify three genes involved in sulfur reduction, sulfur oxidation and mercury metabolism (DSR, SOXA1, and HgcAB, respectively). Preliminary results suggest the presence of DSR and SOXA1, but not HgcAB in mine drainage pools in Centralia, and none of the target genes at the Shamokin remediation site. Ongoing research has identified at least one more DSR primer that has amplified the target region of a positive control.