Influence of electron donors and copper concentration on geochemical and mineralogical processes under conditions of biological sulphate reduction

Dorota Wolicka, Andrzej Borkowski


Sulphidogenous microorganism communities were isolated from soil polluted by crude oil. The study was focused on determining the influence of 1) copper (II) concentration on the activity of selected microorganism communities and 2) the applied electron donor on the course and evolution of mineral-forming processes under conditions favouring growth of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB). The influence of copper concentration on the activity of selected microorganism communities and the type of mineral phases formed was determined during experiments in which copper (II) chloride at concentrations of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5 and 0.7 g/L was added to SRB cultures. The experiments were performed in two variants: with ethanol (4 g/L) or lactate (4 g/L) as the sole carbon source. In order to determine the taxonomic composition of the selected microorganism communities, the 16S rRNA method was used. Results of this analysis confirmed the presence of Desulfovibrio, Desulfohalobium, Desulfotalea, Thermotoga, Solibacter, Gramella, Anaeromyxobacter and Myxococcus sp. in the stationary cultures. The post-culture sediments contained covelline (CuS) and digenite (Cu9S5). Based on the results, it can be stated that the type of carbon source applied during incubation plays a crucial role in determining the mineral composition of the post-culture sediments. Thus, regardless of the amount of copper ion introduced to a culture with lactate as the sole carbon source, no copper sulphide was observed in the post-culture sediments. Cultures with ethanol as the sole carbon source, on the other hand, yielded covelline or digenite in all post-culture sediments. 


Anaerobic conditions; Biogenic minerals; Copper; Geochemical processes; Sulphate-reducing bacteria

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