Microbial insights into the biogeochemical features of thallium occurrence: A case study from polluted river sediments

Jin Wang, Jingye She, Yuchen Zhou, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Jingzi Beiyuan, Tangfu Xiao, Xinjiao Dong, Yongheng Chen, Juan Liu, Meiling Yin, Lulu Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Thallium (Tl) is a trace element with extreme toxicity. Widespread Tl pollution in riverine systems, mainly due to escalating mining and smelting activities of Tl-bearing sulfide minerals, has attracted increasing attention. Insights into the function of the microbial communities with advanced characterization tools are critical for understanding the biogeochemical cycle of Tl. Herein, microbial communities and their adaptive evolution strategies in river sediments from a representative Tl-bearing pyrite mine area in southern China were profiled via 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis and shotgun metagenomic analysis. In total, 64 phyla and 778 genera of microorganisms were observed in the studied sediments. The results showed that pH, Tl, Pb, Zn and total organic carbon (TOC) had a significant influence on microbial community structure. Some important reductive microorganisms (such as Erysipelothrix, Geobacter, desulfatiferula, desulfatihabadium and fusibacter) were involved in the biogeochemical cycle of Tl. The ruv, rec, ars and other resistance genes enhanced the tolerance of microorganisms to Tl. The study suggested that relevant C, N and S cycle genes were the main metabolic paths of microorganisms surviving in the high Tl-polluted environment. The findings were critical for establishment, operation and regulation in the microbial treatment of Tl containing or related wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139957
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Gene sequence
  • Metagenome
  • Microorganism
  • Thallium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Microbial insights into the biogeochemical features of thallium occurrence: A case study from polluted river sediments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this