Characterization of a hyperthermophilic sulphur-oxidizing biofilm produced by archaea isolated from a hot spring

Emky Valdebenito-Rolack, Nathaly Ruiz-Tagle, Leslie Abarzúa, Germán Aroca, Homero Urrutia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Sulphur-oxidizing microorganisms are widely used in the biofiltration of total reduced sulphur compounds (odorous and neurotoxic) produced by industries such as the cellulose and petrochemical industries, which include high-temperature process steps. Some hyperthermophilic microorganisms have the capability to oxidize these compounds at high temperatures (>60°C), and archaea of this group, for example, Sulfolobus metallicus, are commonly used in biofiltration technology. Results: In this study, a hyperthermophilic sulphur-oxidizing strain of archaea was isolated from a hot spring (Chillán, Chile) and designated as M1. It was identified as archaea of the genus Sulfolobus (99% homology with S. solfataricus 16S rDNA). Biofilms of this culture grown on polyethylene rings showed an elemental sulphur oxidation rate of 95.15 ± 15.39 mg S l−1 d−1, higher than the rate exhibited by the biofilm of the sulphur-oxidizing archaea S. metallicus (56.8 ± 10.91 mg l−1 d−1). Conclusions: The results suggest that the culture M1 is useful for the biofiltration of total reduced sulphur gases at high temperatures and for other biotechnological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalElectronic Journal of Biotechnology
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Biofilms on polyethylene
  • Biofiltration
  • Cellulose industries
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • Extremophile
  • Hyperthermophile
  • Industrial gas emissions
  • Petroleum refinery
  • Sulfolobus
  • Sulphide
  • Sulphur-oxidizing archaea
  • Sulphur-oxidizing microorganisms


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