Indexed on: 14 Nov '12Published on: 14 Nov '12Published in: Canadian journal of microbiology
Acid mine drainage (AMD) represents a global threat to water resources, and as such, remediation of AMD-impacted streams is a common practice. During this study, we examined bacterial community structure and environmental conditions in a low-order AMD-impacted stream before, during, and after remediation. Bacterial community structure was examined via polymerase chain reaction amplification of 16S rRNA genes followed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Also, bacterial abundance and physicochemical data (including metal concentrations) were collected and relationships to bacterial community structure were determined using BIO-ENV analysis. Remediation of the study stream altered environmental conditions, including pH and concentrations of some metals, and consequently, the bacterial community changed. However, remediation did not necessarily restore the stream to conditions found in the unimpacted reference stream; for example, bacterial abundances and concentrations of some elements, such as sulfur, magnesium, and manganese, were different in the remediated stream than in the reference stream. BIO-ENV analysis revealed that changes in pH and iron concentration, associated with remediation, primarily explained temporal alterations in bacterial community structure. Although the sites sampled in the remediated stream were in relatively close proximity to each other, spatial variation in community composition suggests that differences in local environmental conditions may have large impacts on the microbial assemblage.