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Title: Investigation of microbial diversity in an acid tar lagoon and the effect of low pH on two microorganisms isolated from an acid tar lagoon
Author: Sunter, Leanne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3491 233X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2008
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Acid tar lagoons are heavily polluted, man-made environments found in several locations around the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States of America. Each lagoon is unique due to the different methods of tar production resulting in a specific waste tar composition. There is also a great deal of heterogeneity within each lagoon as a result of the viscous and mobile nature of the tar waste, alongside a combination of attempted remediation efforts and/or illegal fly tipping. The work presented in this thesis concerns one particular acid tar lagoon situated in the North West of England which arose as a result of deposition of waste from benzole refining. The effects on microbial diversity of a combination of low pH and high levels of organic pollutants were investigated using samples taken from various locations within this lagoon. A variety of techniques including classical microbiology, DGGE and T -RFLP, were used to examine the microbial diversity, which was found to be much lower in lagoon samples than pristine environments and appears to have similarities with the microbial communities present in the Rio Tinto, Spain. Following microbial diversity analysis a detailed examination of two specific organisms isolated from lagoon samples was carried out in order to understand some of the mechanisms of survival and tolerance to such an extreme environment. An acidotolerant unicellular alga which appears to form a large biofilm in several areas of the lagoon, Euglena gracilis G46, and an acidophilic bacterium, Acidocella 29, were the focus ofthis aspect ofthe work. It appears that E. gracilis G46 maintains a near-neutral pH under acidic conditions, Acidocella 29 is thought to have an unusually low intracellular pH.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available