Metabolic diversity and co-occurrence of multiple Ferrovum species at an acid mine drainage site

Christen L. Grettenberger, Jeff R. Havig, Trinity L. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Ferrovum spp. are abundant in acid mine drainage sites globally where they play an important role in biogeochemical cycling. All known taxa in this genus are Fe(II) oxidizers. Thus, co-occurring members of the genus could be competitors within the same environment. However, we found multiple, co-occurring Ferrovum spp. in Cabin Branch, an acid mine drainage site in the Daniel Boone National Forest, KY. Results: Here we describe the distribution of Ferrovum spp. within the Cabin Branch communities and metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs) of two new Ferrovum spp. In contrast to previous studies, we recovered multiple 16S rRNA gene sequence variants suggesting the commonly used 97% cutoff may not be appropriate to differentiate Ferrovum spp. We also retrieved two nearly-complete Ferrovum spp. genomes from metagenomic data. The genomes of these taxa differ in several key ways relating to nutrient cycling, motility, and chemotaxis. Conclusions: Previously reported Ferrovum genomes are also diverse with respect to these categories suggesting that the genus Ferrovum contains substantial metabolic diversity. This diversity likely explains how the members of this genus successfully co-occur in Cabin Branch and why Ferrovum spp. are abundant across geochemical gradients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119
JournalBMC microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 18 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Acidophlic
  • Biofilm
  • Carbon fixation
  • Co-occurrence
  • Denoised sequence variants
  • Ferrovum
  • Iron oxidation
  • Metagenome
  • Microcosm
  • Nitrogen

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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