The role of arsenite oxidizers in natural attenuation of arsenic pollution necessitates studies on their abundance and diversity in arsenic-contaminated aquifers. In this study, most probable number-polymerase chain reaction (MPN-PCR) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was applied to monitor depth-wise abundance and diversity of aerobic arsenite oxidizers in arsenic-enriched groundwater of Beimen, southwestern Taiwan. The results revealed that the abundance of arsenite oxidizers ranged from 0.04 to 0.22, and the lowest ratio was observed in the most arsenic-enriched and comparatively more reduced groundwater (depth 200m) of Beimen 1. The highest ratio was observed in the less arsenic-enriched and less reduced groundwater (depth 60m) of Beimen 2B. DGGE profiles showed a shift in diversity of arsenite oxidizers, consisting of members of the Betaproteobacteria (61%), Alphaproteobacteria (28%) and Gammaproteobacteria (11%), depending on mainly arsenic concentration and redox level in groundwater. Groundwater with the lowest arsenic and highest dissolved oxygen at Beimen 2B harbored 78% of the arsenite oxidizers communities, while groundwater with the highest arsenic and lowest dissolved oxygen at Beimen 1 and Beimen-Jinhu harbored 17 and 22% of arsenite oxidizers communities, respectively. Pseudomonas sp. was found only in groundwater containing high arsenic at Beimen 1 and Beimen-Jinhu, while arsenite oxidizers belonging to Alpha- and Betaproteobacteria were dominated in groundwater containing low arsenic.
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