Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.3, 1287-1300, 2021
Microbial consortia capable of reducing selenate in the presence of nitrate enriched from coalmining-impacted environments
Biological treatment to remove dissolved selenium from mine-impacted water is often inhibited by the co-contaminant nitrate. In this work, we enriched microbial consortia capable of removing dissolved selenium in the presence of nitrate from native bacteria at sites influenced by coalmine seepages with elevated concentrations of Se, nitrate, and sulfate. Enrichments were collected from sediments in different vegetated or non-vegetated seepage collection ponds, and all demonstrated the potential for dissolved selenium removal. Nitrate inhibited dissolved selenium removal rates in four of these enrichments. However, microorganisms enriched from a mine seepage influenced natural vegetated marsh removed dissolved Se and nitrate simultaneously. Additionally, enrichments from one seepage collection pond achieved enhanced dissolved selenium removal in the presence of nitrate. Based on functional metagenomics, the dominant species with the metabolic capacity for selenate reduction were classified in Orders Enterobacterales and Clostridiales. Most putative selenate reductases identified as either ygfK, associated with selenoprotein synthesis or production of methylated organoselenium compounds, and narG, nitrate reductases with an affinity also for selenate.