FEMS Microbiol Lett 2018 02;365(4)
Institute of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Tianshui Road No. 222, Lanzhou 730000, PR China.
Bioleaching is a promising process for 350 million tons of Jinchuan low-grade pentlandite. But high concentration of Mg2+ is harmful to bioleaching microorganisms. Interestingly, biofilm formation can improve leaching rate. Thus, it is actually necessary to investigate the effect of Mg2+ stress on Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans biofilms formation. In this study, we found that 0.1 and 0.5 M Mg2+ stress significantly reduced the total biomass of biofilm in a dose-dependent manner. The observation results of extracellular polymeric substances and bacteria using confocal laser scanning microscopy showed that the biofilm became thinner and looser under Mg2+ stress. Whereas 0.1 and 0.5 M Mg2+ stress had no remarkable effect on the bacterial viability, the attachment rate of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans to pentlandite was reduced by Mg2+ stress. Furthermore, sliding motility, twitching motility and the gene expression level of pilV and pilW were inhibited under Mg2+ stress. These results suggested that Mg2+ reduced biofilm formation through inhibiting pilV and pilW gene expression, decreasing Type IV pili formation and then attenuating the ability of attachment, subduing the active expansion of biofilms mediated by twitching motility. This study provided more information about the effect of Mg2+ stress on biofilm formation and may be useful for increasing the leaching rate in low-grade pentlandit.