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Enzyme-Linked Immunofiltration Assay To Estimate Attachment of Thiobacilli to Pyrite

  • Marie-Antoinette Dziurla
  • Wafa Achouak
  • Bach-Tuyet Lam
  • Thierry Heulin
  • Jacques Berthelin
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Aug 01, 1998
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics


An enzyme-linked immunofiltration assay (ELIFA) has been developed in order to estimate directly and specifically Thiobacillus ferrooxidans attachment on sulfide minerals. This method derives from the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay but is performed on filtration membranes which allow the retention of mineral particles for a subsequent immunoenzymatic reaction in microtiter plates. The polyclonal antiserum used in this study was raised against T. ferrooxidans DSM 583 and recognized cell surface antigens present on bacteria belonging to the genus Thiobacillus. This antiserum and the ELIFA allowed the direct quantification of attached bacteria with high sensitivity (104 bacteria were detected per well of the microtiter plate). The mean value of bacterial attachment has been estimated to be about 105 bacteria mg−1 of pyrite at a particle size of 56 to 65 μm. The geometric coverage ratio of pyrite by T. ferrooxidans ranged from 0.25 to 2.25%. This suggests an attachment of T. ferrooxidans on the pyrite surface to well-defined limited sites with specific electrochemical or surface properties. ELIFA was shown to be compatible with the measurement of variable levels of adhesion. Therefore, this method may be used to establish adhesion isotherms of T. ferrooxidans on various sulfide minerals exhibiting different physicochemical properties in order to understand the mechanisms of bacterial interaction with mineral surfaces.

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