Authors: Marques, LLR; Oosterbroek, L; Caro-Riano, H; Ehman, C; Zwierink, M


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Marques, LLR, Oosterbroek, L, Caro-Riano, H, Ehman, C & Zwierink, M 2011, 'Detection of soil sulphur oxidising bacteria on Suncor’s reclamation material stockpiles and the reclaimed landscape', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Mine Closure 2011: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 291-299,

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Suncor Energy Inc. (Suncor) is currently reclaiming some areas to jackpine a1 and b1 ecosites. These ecotypes require slightly acidic to acidic soils. However, much of the existing soil on the reclaimed landscape and in many of the reclamation stockpiles has a neutral to slightly basic soil reaction. Tests were carried out on reclamation peat/mineral mix stockpiles and on the reclaimed landscape to determine the presence of soil sulphur oxidising bacteria (SOB). These bacteria can be used with additions of elemental sulphur to acidify the neutral to basic reclamation material and provide a substrate for the establishment and development of jackpine vegetative communities. HydroQual Laboratories Ltd. (HydroQual), Golder Associates Ltd. (Golder) and Suncor carried out a study to determine the presence of two SOB bacteria species in 90 soil samples (180 DNA tests in total). The two SOB species were chosen based on previous studies described in the scientific literature. Sixty composite soil samples at ten reclamation peat/mineral mix reclamation material stockpiles were sampled at 0 to 20 cm and 1+ m depths. Thirty composite soils samples were collected from ten reclaimed landscape sites. Three replicate composite samples were collected at each site. Testing was carried out to determine presence/absence of SOB in soil samples through standard DNA detection of SOB by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Soil samples were also analysed for basic soil parameters such as pH, electrical conductivity (EC), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), cation exchange capacity (CEC), total nitrogen, organic carbon and particle size analysis. The sampling program allowed for the statistical comparison of soil parameters using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).

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