Geomicrobiology of Río Tinto, a Model of Interest in Biohydrometallurgy


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Río Tinto (Iberian Pyrite Belt, SW Spain) is a natural extreme acidic environmentwith a constant acidic pH and high concentration of toxic heavy metals. The characterization of the Tinto basin performed by our group during more than thirty years has provided evidences on the importance of the iron and sulfur cycles in generating the extreme conditions of theriver and maintaining the high level of prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity detected on it.It has also proven that the extreme conditions of the Tinto basin are not generated by the long record of mining activities in the area, but the consequence of an underground bioreactor sustained by the massive sulfidic minerals existing in the Iberian Pyrite Belt. To test this hypothesis two drilling projects, MARTE (NASA Ames and Centro de Astrobiología, 2003-2006) and IPBSL (Centro de Astrobiología, 2011-2015) have beenperformed to provide evidences ofchemolithotrophicmicrobial activities operating in thisunderground bioreactor.Considering all the information collected from this natural ARD and AMD model system, its biohydrometallurgical interest is discussed



Edited by:

M. Zaki Mubarok, Siti Khodijah Chaerun, Wahyudin Prawira Minwal, Fadhli Muhammad and Killang Pratama




R. Amils, "Geomicrobiology of Río Tinto, a Model of Interest in Biohydrometallurgy", Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 1130, pp. 83-86, 2015

Online since:

November 2015





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