Detection, identification and typing of Acidithiobacillus species and strains: a review

Harold Nuñez, Paulo C. Covarrubias, Ana Moya-Beltrán, Francisco Issotta, Joaquín Atavales, Lillian G. Acuña, D. Barrie Johnson, Raquel Quatrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The genus Acidithiobacillus comprises several species of Gram-negative acidophilic bacteria that thrive in natural and man-made low pH environments in a variety of geo-climatic contexts. Beyond their fundamental interest as model extreme acidophiles, these bacteria are involved in the processing of minerals and the desulfurization of coal and natural gas, and are also sources of environmental pollution due to their generation of acid mine drainage and corrosion of cement and concrete structures. Acidithiobacillus spp. are therefore considered a biotechnologically relevant group of bacteria, and their identification and screening in natural and industrial environments is of great concern. Several molecular typing methodologies have been instrumental in improving knowledge of the inherent diversity of acidithiobacilli by providing information on the genetic subtypes sampled in public and private culture collections; more recently, they have provided specific insight into the diversity of acidithiobacilli present in industrial and natural environments. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of techniques used in molecular detection, identification and typing of Acidithiobacillus spp. These methods will be discussed in the context of their contribution to the general and specific understanding of the role of the acidithiobacilli in microbial ecology and industrial biotechnology. Emerging opportunities for industrial and environmental surveillance of acidithiobacilli using next-generation molecular typing methodologies are also reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-567
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Acidithiobacillus
  • Acidophile
  • Bioleaching
  • Diversity
  • Fingerprinting
  • Typing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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