Soil uranium concentration at Ranger Uranium Mine Land Application Areas drives changes in the bacterial community

Saqib Mumtaz, Claire Streten-Joyce, David L. Parry, Keith A. McGuinness, Ping Lu, Karen S. Gibb

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Soil microorganisms may respond to metal stress by a shift in the microbial community from metal sensitive to metal resistant microorganisms. We assessed the bacterial community from low (2–20 mg kg−1), medium (200–400 mg kg−1), high (500–900 mg kg−1) and very high (>900 mg kg−1) uranium soils at Ranger Uranium Mine in northern Australia through pyrosequencing. Proteobacteria (28.85%) was the most abundant phylum at these sites, followed by Actinobacteria (9.31%), Acidobacteria (7.33%), Verrucomicrobia (2.11%), Firmicutes (2.02%), Chloroflexi (1.11%), Cyanobacteria (0.93%), Planctomycetes (0.82%), Bacteroidetes (0.46%) and Candidate_division_WS3 (Latescibacteria) (0.21%). However, 46.79% of bacteria were unclassified. Bacteria at low U soils differed from soils with elevated uranium. Bacterial OTUs closely related to Kitasatospora spp., Sphingobacteria spp. and Rhodobium spp. were only present at higher uranium concentrations and the bacterial community also changed with seasonal and temporal changes in soil uranium and physicochemical variables. This study using next generation sequencing in association with environmental variables at a uranium mine has laid a foundation for further studies of soil-microbe-metal interactions which may be useful for developing sustainable management and rehabilitation strategies. Furthermore, bacterial species associated with higher uranium may serve as useful indicators of uranium contamination in the wet-dry tropics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14-23
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
    Volume189
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

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