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Name: Michael A.
Status: Student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001


Question:
what is the role of the bacteria Thiobacillus Ferroxidans in acid mine drainage?



Replies:
You will find more on this bacterium in the species files of the Virtual Museum of Bacteria, www.bacteriamuseum.org or check out the exhibit on 'applied bacteriology (in the subject category 'what are bacteria' ) about the role of these bacteria in mining.

Dr. T. Wassenaar
curator of the Virtual museum of Bacteria'


Dear Mike:

The short explanation, that it is "responsible for the oxidation of iron and inorganic sulfur compounds in areas such a mine tailings and coal deposits", as can be found on this web page from the Colorado School of Mines:

http://www.mines.edu/fs_home/jhoran/ch126/thiobaci.htm

However, another report describes a recent study which concluded that "Thiobacillus ferroxidans, previously thought to be the most important iron-oxidizing species, played only a minor role":

http://www.whoi.edu/media/IronEatingMicrobe.html

So it definitely plays a role in the oxidation of iron from acid mine drainage, but there is apparently some question as to the size of that role.

Jeff Buzby, Ph.D.



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