Although dissimilatory arsenic reduction (DAsR) has been recognized as an important process for groundwater arsenic (As) enrichment, its characterization and association with in situ microbial activities and diversity in As-rich groundwater is barely studied. In this work, we collected As-rich groundwater at depths of 23, 300, and 313 m, respectively, from Yenshui-3, Budai-Shinwen, and Budai-4 of Chianan plain, southwestern Taiwan, and conducted incubation experiments using different electron donors, acceptors, and sulfate-reducing bacterial inhibitor (tungstate) to characterize DAsR. Moreover, bacterial diversity was evaluated using 454-pyrosequencing targeting bacterial 16S rRNAs. MPN technique was used to enumerate microorganisms with different in situ metabolic functions. The results revealed that DAsR in groundwater of Chianan plain was a biotic phenomenon (as DAsR was totally inhibited by filter sterilization), enhanced by the type of electron donor (in this case, lactate enhanced DAsR but acetate and succinate did not), and limited by the availability of arsenate. In addition to oxidative recycling of As(III), dissolution of As(V)-saturated manganese and iron minerals by indigenous dissimilatory Mn(IV)- and Fe(III)-reducing bacteria, and abiotic oxidation of As(III) with Mn(IV) regenerated As(V) in the groundwater. Sulfate-respiring bacteria contributed 7.4 and 28.2 % to the observed DAsR in groundwater of Yinshui-3 and Budai-Shinwen, respectively, whereas their contribution was negligible in groundwater of Budai-4. A noticeable variation in dominant genera Acinetobacter and Bacillus was observed within the groundwater. Firmicutes dominated in highly As-rich groundwater of Yenshui-3, whereas Proteobacteria dominated in comparatively less As-rich groundwater of Budai-Shinwen and Budai 4.
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