In the present study, the influence of the co-contamination with various chemical forms of antimony (Sb) with arsenite (As[III]) on soil microbial communities was investigated. The oxidation of As(III) to As(V) was monitored in soil columns amended with As(III) and three different chemical forms of Sb: antimony potassium tartrate (Sb[III]-tar), antimony(III) oxide (Sb2O3), and potassium antimonate (Sb[V]). Soil microbial communities were examined qualitatively and quantitatively using 16S rDNA-and arsenite oxidase gene (aioA)-targeted analyses. Microbial As(III) oxidation was detected in all soil columns and 90–100% of added As(III) (200 μ mol L–1) was oxidized to As(V) in 9 d, except in the Sb(III)-tar co-amendments that only oxidized 30%. 16S rDNA-and aioA-targeted analyses showed that the presence of different Sb chemical forms significantly affected the selection of distinct As(III)-oxidizing bacterial populations. Most of the 16S rRNA genes detected in soil columns belonged to Betaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, and some sequences were closely related to those of known As(III) oxidizers. Co-amendments with Sb(III)-tar and high concentrations of Sb2O3 significantly increased the ratios of aioA-possessing bacterial populations, indicating the enrichment of As(III) oxidizers resistant to As and Sb toxicity. Under Sb co-amendment conditions, there was no correlation between aioA gene abundance and the rates of As(III) oxidation. Collectively, these results demonstrated that the presence of different Sb chemical forms imposed a strong selective pressure on the soil bacterial community and, thus, the co-existing metalloid is an important factor affecting the redox transformation of arsenic in natural environments.
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