Extremophile microbiomes in acidic and hypersaline river sediments of Western Australia

S. Lu, S. Peiffer, C.S. Lazar, Carolyn Oldham, T.R. Neu, V. Ciobota, O. Näb, A. Lillicrap, P. Rösch, J. Popp, K. Küsel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. We investigated the microbial community compositions in two sediment samples from the acidic (pH ∼3) and hypersaline (>4.5% NaCl) surface waters, which are widespread in Western Australia. In West Dalyup River, large amounts of NaCl, Fe(II) and sulfate are brought by the groundwater into the surface run-off. The presence of K-jarosite and schwertmannite minerals in the river sediments suggested the occurrence of microbial Fe(II) oxidation because chemical oxidation is greatly reduced at low pH. 16S rRNA gene diversity analyses revealed that sequences affiliated with an uncultured archaeal lineage named Aplasma, which has the genomic potential for Fe(II) oxidation, were dominant in both sediment samples. The acidophilic heterotrophs Acidiphilium and Acidocella were identified as the dominant bacterial groups. Acidiphilium strain AusYE3-1 obtained from the river sediment tolerated up to 6% NaCl at pH 3 under oxic conditions and cells of strain AusYE3-1 reduced the effects of high salt content by forming filamentous structure clumping as aggregates. Neither growth nor Fe(III) reduction by strain AusYE3-1 was observed in anoxic salt-containing medium. The detection of Aplasma group as potential Fe(II) oxidizers and the inhibited Fe(III)-reducing capacity of Acidiphilium contributes to our understanding of the microbial ecology of acidic hypersaline environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


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