Need Help!

K N and P J Harris ecoli at
Sat Nov 4 05:14:46 EST 1995

> ==========
> bionet/mycology #539, from goarmy at, 1011 chars, Wed  1 
Nov 1995 15:52:47 -0
> ----------
> Article: 2573 of bionet.mycology
> Path:!!btnet!!pipex
> t!!!goarmy
> From: Jason D Adams <goarmy at>
> Newsgroups: bionet.mycology
> Subject: Need Help!
> Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 15:52:47 -0700
> Organization: University of Montana
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> I'm a college senior and I am assisting my old high school biology 
> teacher with one of his student's science project.  We are looking for 
> fungi, yeast, etc, that is able to a)live in highly acidic soil and/or 
> water due to mine tillings and b) able to process and neutralize the 
> soil and water and and reduce its contaminating effects.  Any help 
> be greatly appreciated.
>  Jason A.
In theory all you need is some clever little microbe that would combine 
all those nasty hydrogen ions that are causing the acidity and form 
gaseous hydrogen which it could then oxidise to water with the help of 
atmospheric oxygen. Neat trick ! Problem is - would it know when to stop 
 because a pH of 11 or 12 isn't very nice either. Could it make a living 
at it ?
Curiously enough, I came across a mention of a deep soil horizon that 
was at just those pH levels recently without obvious explanation. 
Perhaps I had better go and look it up again !

The problem with acidity, in soils or mine tailings, is not so much the 
pH (hydrogen ions) as the increased availability of ferrous iron, 
manganese and particularly aluminium.

I do not know of any bug that will make much impact but we have done 
some work at Reading on the effects of certain plant litters in reducing 
the toxic effects of acid soils. The main worker was Dr Mike Wong who 
has recently moved to the University of Western Australia, you could try 
to contact him or I will try to find an e-mail address for him if you 
Peter Harris,
Department of Soil Science,
The University of Reading,
P O Box 233,
Reading RG6 6DW, U.K.

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