The Establishment of a Genetic System for the Lithoautotroph Metallosphaera sedula
Metallosphaera sedula, is thermacidophilic archaea that can thrive in acidic and metal rich environments and is capable of lithoautotrophic growth. It is used in the biomining industry to leach metals from low-grade ores. The bio-leaching mechanism in this organism has not been well-characterized and a genetic system for this organism is being developed to examine its genes involved in lithoautotrophy pathways. A better understanding of these mechanisms could provide a means to increase the efficiency of metal bio-leaching. In addition to genetics, experimental microbial evolution and leaching physiology experiments have been done to examine other parameters that limit leaching of metal ores.