Growth of soil algae and cyanobacteria on gold mine tailings material

  • Tanya Seiderer Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • Arthurita Venter Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • Fanus van Wyk Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • Anatoliy Levanets Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6665-1290
  • Anine Jordaan Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Keywords: revegetation, biological soil crusts, cyanobacteria, tailings storage facilities, scanning electron microscopy

Abstract

The goal of revegetation of gold mine tailings storage facilities is to reduce aeolian pollution, nutrient leaching and erosion caused by exposure to wind and water. The establishment of biological soil crusts may prove to be a more cost-effective way to reach the same goal and the aim of this study was therefore to determine if it is possible to establish algae and cyanobacteria on gold mine tailings. Different treatments of ChlamydomonasMicrocoleus and Nostoc were inoculated on gold mine tailings in controlled conditions and algal growth was measured on all of the treatments after 6 weeks. Nostoc treatments had the highest chlorophyll-concentrations and produced a surface crust, while Chlamydomonas treatments penetrated the tailings material and provided the strongest crust. The results were promising but more research is necessary to determine the best organism, or combination of organisms, to colonise mine tailings and to eventually produce biological crusts.

Significance: 
  • Determination of the best organisms to colonise mine tailings and to produce biological crusts for the revegetation of gold mine tailings storage facilities.
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Published
2017-11-29