Characterization of extracellular minerals produced during dissimilatory Fe(III) and U(VI) reduction at 100 degrees C by Pyrobaculum islandicum.
ABSTRACT In order to gain insight into the significance of biotic metal reduction and mineral formation in hyperthermophilic environments, metal mineralization as a result of the dissimilatory reduction of poorly crystalline Fe(III) oxide, and U(VI) reduction at 100 degrees C by Pyrobaculum islandicum was investigated. When P. islandicum was grown in a medium with poorly crystalline Fe(III) oxide as an electron acceptor and hydrogen as an electron donor, the Fe(III) oxide was reduced to an extracellular, ultrafine-grained magnetite with characteristics similar to that found in some hot environments and that was previously thought to be of abiotic origin. Furthermore, cell suspensions of P. islandicum rapidly reduced the soluble and oxidized form of uranium, U(VI), to extracellular precipitates of the highly insoluble U(IV) mineral, uraninite (UO(2)). The reduction of U(VI) was dependent on the presence of hydrogen as the electron donor. These findings suggest that microbes may play a key role in metal deposition in hyperthermophilic environments and provide a plausible explanation for such phenomena as magnetite accumulation and formation of uranium deposits at ca. 100 degrees C.
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ABSTRACT: The habitat of metal respiring acidothermophilic lithoautotrophs is perhaps the most oxidizing environment yet identified. Geothermal heat, sulfuric acid and transition metals contribute both individually and synergistically under aerobic conditions to create this niche. Sulfuric acid and metals originating from sulfidic ores catalyze oxidative reactions attacking microbial cell surfaces including lipids, proteins and glycosyl groups. Sulfuric acid also promotes hydrocarbon dehydration contributing to the formation of black "burnt" carbon. Oxidative reactions leading to abstraction of electrons is further impacted by heat through an increase in the proportion of reactant molecules with sufficient energy to react. Collectively these factors and particularly those related to metals must be overcome by thermoacidophilic lithoautotrophs in order for them to survive and proliferate. The necessary mechanisms to achieve this goal are largely unknown however mechanistics insights have been gained through genomic studies. This review focuses on the specific role of metals in this extreme environment with an emphasis on resistance mechanisms in Archaea.12/2012; 2(3):229-42. DOI:10.3390/life2030229
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ABSTRACT: Despite significant progress on iron reduction by thermophilic microorganisms, studies on their ability to reduce toxic metals are still limited, despite their common co-existence in high temperature environments (up to 70 °C). In this study, Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus, an obligate thermophilic methanogen, was used to reduce hexavalent chromium. Experiments were conducted in a growth medium with H2/CO2 as substrate with various Cr6+ concentrations (0.2, 0.4, 1, 3, and 5 mM) in the form of potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7). Time-course measurements of aqueous Cr6+ concentrations using 1,5-diphenylcarbazide colorimetric method showed complete reduction of the 0.2 and 0.4 mM Cr6+ solutions by this methanogen. However, much lower reduction extents of 43.6%, 13.0%, and 3.7% were observed at higher Cr6+ concentrations of 1, 3 and 5 mM, respectively. These lower extents of bioreduction suggest a toxic effect of aqueous Cr6+ to cells at this concentration range. At these higher Cr6+ concentrations, methanogenesis was inhibited and cell growth was impaired as evidenced by decreased total cellular protein production and live/dead cell ratio. Likewise, Cr6+ bioreduction rates decreased with increased initial concentrations of Cr6+ from 13.3 to 1.9 μM h-1. X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy revealed a progressive reduction of soluble Cr6+ to insoluble Cr3+ precipitates, which was confirmed as amorphous chromium hydroxide by selected area electron diffraction pattern. However, a small fraction of reduced Cr occurred as aqueous Cr3+. Scanning and transmission electron microscope observations of M. thermautotrophicus cells after Cr6+ exposure suggest both extra- and intracellular chromium reduction mechanisms. Results of this study demonstrate the ability of M. thermautotrophicus cells to reduce toxic Cr6+ to less toxic Cr3+ and its potential application in metal bioremediation, especially at high temperature subsurface radioactive waste disposal sites, where the temperature may reach ∼70 °C.Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 11/2014; in press. DOI:10.1016/j.gca.2014.10.012 · 4.25 Impact Factor