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Reduction of Cr(VI) and bioaccumulation of chromium by gram positive and gram negative microorganisms not previously exposed to Cr-stress

, : Reduction of Cr(VI) and bioaccumulation of chromium by gram positive and gram negative microorganisms not previously exposed to Cr-stress. Environmental Technology 23(7): 731-745

Resistance to Cr(VI) is usually associated with its cellular exclusion, precluding enrichment techniques for the isolation of organisms accumulating Cr(VI) via bioreduction to insoluble Cr(III). A technique was developed to screen for potential Cr(VI) reduction in ~2000 isolates from a coastal environment in the UK, based on the non-specific reduction of selenite and tellurite to Se0 and TE0, and reduction of tetrazolium blue to insoluble blue formazan. The most promising strains were further screened in liquid culture, giving three, which were identified by 16S rRNA sequence analysis as Bacillus pumilus, Exiguobacterium aurantiacum and Pseudomonas synxantha, all of which reduced 100 micro M Cr(VI) anaerobically, without growth. The respective removal of Cr(VI) was 90 and 80% by B. pumilus and E. aurantiacum, respectively, after 48 h and 80% and by P. synxantha after 192 h. With the Gram positive strains, Cr(VI) promoted loss of flagella and, in the case of B. pumilus, lysis of some cells, but Cr was deposited as an exocellular precipitate which was identified as containing Cr and P using energy dispersive X ray microanalysis. This prompted the testing of Citrobacter sp. N14 (subsequently re-assigned by 16S rRNA sequence analysis and biochemical studies as a strain of Serratia) which bioprecipitates metal cation phosphates via enzymatically-liberated phosphate. This strain reduced Cr(VI) at a rate comparable to that of P. synxantha but Cr(III) was not bioprecipitated where La(III) was removed as LaPO4, even though a similar amount of phosphate was produced in the presence of Cr(III). Since B. pumilus removed most of the Cr(VI), with the formation of cell-bound CrPO4 implicated, this suggests that this strain could have future bioprocess potential.


PMID: 12164635

DOI: 10.1080/09593332308618367

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