Acidophilic heterotrophs: basic aspects and technological applications

Ernesto González*, Fernando Vera, Felipe Scott, Cecilia Guerrero, Juan M. Bolívar, Germán Aroca, Jesús Ángel Muñoz, Miguel Ladero, Victoria E. Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Acidophiles comprise a group of microorganisms adapted to live in acidic environments. Despite acidophiles are usually associated with an autotrophic metabolism, more than 80 microorganisms capable of utilizing organic matter have been isolated from natural and man-made environments. The ability to reduce soluble and insoluble iron compounds has been described for many of these species and may be harnessed to develop new or improved mining processes when oxidative bioleaching is ineffective. Similarly, as these microorganisms grow in highly acidic media and the chances of contamination are reduced by the low pH, they may be employed to implement robust fermentation processes. By conducting an extensive literature review, this work presents an updated view of basic aspects and technological applications in biomining, bioremediation, fermentation processes aimed at biopolymers production, microbial electrochemical systems, and the potential use of extremozymes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1374800
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2024 González, Vera, Scott, Guerrero, Bolívar, Aroca, Muñoz, Ladero and Santos.


  • acidiphilium
  • acidophile
  • fermentation
  • heterotroph
  • mixotroph
  • organic matter


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