Fungi outcompete bacteria under increased uranium concentration in culture media

Saqib Mumtaz, Claire Streten-Joyce, David Parry, Keith Mcguinness, Ping Lu, Karen Gibb

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    As a key part of water management at the Ranger Uranium Mine (Northern Territory, Australia), stockpile (ore and waste) runoff water was applied to natural woodland on the mine lease in accordance with regulatory requirements. Consequently, the soil in these Land Application Areas (LAAs) presents a range of uranium concentrations. Soil samples were collected from LAAs with different concentrations of uranium and extracts were plated onto LB media containing no (0 ppm), low (3 ppm), medium (250 ppm), high (600 ppm) and very high (1500 ppm) uranium concentrations. These concentrations were similar to the range of measured uranium concentrations in the LAAs soils. Bacteria grew on all plates except for the very high uranium concentrations, where only fungi were recovered. Identifications based on bacterial 16S rRNA sequence analysis showed that the dominant cultivable bacteria belonged to the genus Bacillus. Members of the genera Paenibacillus, Lysinibacillus, Klebsiella, Microbacterium and Chryseobacterium were also isolated from the LAAs soil samples. Fungi were identified by sequence analysis of the intergenic spacer region, and members of the genera Aspergillus, Cryptococcus, Penicillium and Curvularia were dominant on plates with very high uranium concentrations. Members of the Paecilomyces and Alternaria were also present but in lower numbers. These findings indicate that fungi can tolerate very high concentrations of uranium and are more resistant than bacteria. Bacteria and fungi isolated at the Ranger LAAs from soils with high concentrations of uranium may have uranium binding capability and hence the potential for uranium bioremediation. � 2013 .
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-44
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Cite this