Unique ecophysiology among U(VI)-reducing bacteria as revealed by evaluation of oxygen metabolism in anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans strain 2CP-C

Sara H. Thomas, Robert A. Sanford, Benjamin K. Amos, Mary Beth Leigh, Erick Cardenas, Frank E. Löffler

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Anaeromyxobacter spp. respire soluble hexavalent uranium, U(VI), leading to the formation of insoluble U(IV), and are present at the uranium-contaminated Oak Ridge Integrated Field Research Challenge (IFC) site. Pilot-scale in situ bioreduction of U(VI) has been accomplished in area 3 of the Oak Ridge IFC site following biostimulation, but the susceptibility of the reduced material to oxidants (i.e., oxygen) compromises long-term U immobilization. Following oxygen intrusion, attached Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans cells increased approximately 5-fold from 2.2 x 10 7 ± 8.6 x 10 6 to 1.0 x 10 8 ± 2.2 x 10 7 cells per g of sediment collected from well FWl01-2. In the same samples, the numbers of cells at Geobacter bvleyi, a population native to area 3 and also capable of U(VI) reduction, decreased or did not change. A. dehalogenans cells captured via groundwater sampling (i.e., not attached to sediment) were present in much lower numbers (<1.3 X 10 4 ± 1.1 x 10 4 cells per liter) than sediment-associated cells, suggesting that A. dehalogenans cells occur predominantly in association with soil particles. Laboratory studies confirmed aerobic growth of A. dehalogenans strain 2CP-C at initial oxygen partial pressures (pO 2) at and below 0.18 atm. A negative linear correlation [(J. = (-0.09 X pO 2) + 0.051; R 2 = 0.923] was observed between the instantaneous specific growth rate |x and pO 2, indicating that this organism should be classified as a microaerophile. Quantification of cells during aerobic growth revealed that the fraction of electrons released in electron donor oxidation and used for biomass production (fs) decreased from 0.52 at a pO 2 of 0.02 atm to 0.19 at a pO 2 of 0.18 atm. Hence, the apparent fraction of electrons utilized for energy generation (i.e., oxygen reduction) (fe) increased from 0.48 to 0.81 with increasing pO 2, suggesting that oxygen is consumed in a nonrespiratory process at a high p02. The ability to tolerate high oxygen concentrations, perform microaerophilic oxygen respiration, and preferentially associate with soil particles represents an ecophysiology that distinguishes A. dehalogenans from other known U(VI)reducing bacteria in area 3, and these features may play roles for stabilizing immobilized radionuclides in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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