Stimulating the in situ activity of Geobacter species to remove uranium from the groundwater of a uranium-contaminated aquifer.
The potential for removing uranium from contaminated groundwater by stimulating the in situ activity of dissimilatory metal-reducing microorganisms was evaluated in a uranium-contaminated aquifer located in Rifle, Colo. Acetate (1 to 3 mM) was injected into the subsurface over a 3-month period via an injection gallery composed of 20 injection wells, which was installed upgradient from a series of 15 monitoring wells. U(VI) concentrations decreased in as little as 9 days after acetate injection was initiated, and within 50 days uranium had declined below the prescribed treatment level of 0.18 micro M in some of the monitoring wells. Analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences and phospholipid fatty acid profiles demonstrated that the initial loss of uranium from the groundwater was associated with an enrichment of Geobacter species in the treatment zone. Fe(II) in the groundwater also increased during this period, suggesting that U(VI) reduction was coincident with Fe(III) reduction. As the acetate injection continued over 50 days there was a loss of sulfate from the groundwater and an accumulation of sulfide and the composition of the microbial community changed. Organisms with 16S rDNA sequences most closely related to those of sulfate reducers became predominant, and Geobacter species became a minor component of the community. This apparent switch from Fe(III) reduction to sulfate reduction as the terminal electron accepting process for the oxidation of the injected acetate was associated with an increase in uranium concentration in the groundwater. These results demonstrate that in situ bioremediation of uranium-contaminated groundwater is feasible but suggest that the strategy should be optimized to better maintain long-term activity of Geobacter species. (+info)
Crystal structures of Geobacillus stearothermophilus alpha-glucuronidase complexed with its substrate and products: mechanistic implications.
Alpha-glucuronidases cleave the alpha-1,2-glycosidic bond between 4-O-methyl-d-glucuronic acid and short xylooligomers as part of the hemicellulose degradation system. To date, all of the alpha-glucuronidases are classified as family 67 glycosidases, which catalyze the hydrolysis via the investing mechanism. Here we describe several high resolution crystal structures of the alpha-glucuronidase (AguA) from Geobacillus stearothermophilus, in complex with its substrate and products. In the complex of AguA with the intact substrate, the 4-O-methyl-d-glucuronic acid sugar ring is distorted into a half-chair conformation, which is closer to the planar conformation required for the oxocarbenium ion-like transition state structure. In the active site, a water molecule is coordinated between two carboxylic acids, in an appropriate position to act as a nucleophile. From the structural data it is likely that two carboxylic acids, Asp(364) and Glu(392), activate together the nucleophilic water molecule. The loop carrying the catalytic general acid Glu(285) cannot be resolved in some of the structures but could be visualized in its "open" and "closed" (catalytic) conformations in other structures. The protonated state of Glu(285) is presumably stabilized by its proximity to the negative charge of the substrate, representing a new variation of substrate-assisted catalysis mechanism. (+info)
Genome of Geobacter sulfurreducens: metal reduction in subsurface environments.
The complete genome sequence of Geobacter sulfurreducens, a delta-proteobacterium, reveals unsuspected capabilities, including evidence of aerobic metabolism, one-carbon and complex carbon metabolism, motility, and chemotactic behavior. These characteristics, coupled with the possession of many two-component sensors and many c-type cytochromes, reveal an ability to create alternative, redundant, electron transport networks and offer insights into the process of metal ion reduction in subsurface environments. As well as playing roles in the global cycling of metals and carbon, this organism clearly has the potential for use in bioremediation of radioactive metals and in the generation of electricity. (+info)
Geobacter sulfurreducens can grow with oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor.
Geobacter sulfurreducens, previously classified as a strict anaerobe, tolerated exposure to atmospheric oxygen for at least 24 h and grew with oxygen as the sole electron acceptor at concentrations of 10% or less in the headspace. These results help explain how Geobacter species may survive in oxic subsurface environments, being poised to rapidly take advantage of the development of anoxic conditions. (+info)
Preferential reduction of FeIII over fumarate by Geobacter sulfurreducens.
The presence of Fe(III), but not that of Fe(II), resulted in ca. 20-fold-lower levels of mRNA for fumarate reductase, inhibiting fumarate reduction and favoring utilization of fumarate as an electron donor in chemostat cultures of Geobacter sulfurreducens, despite the fact that growth yield with fumarate was 3-fold higher than with Fe(III). (+info)
Identification of an uptake hydrogenase required for hydrogen-dependent reduction of Fe(III) and other electron acceptors by Geobacter sulfurreducens.
Geobacter sulfurreducens, a representative of the family Geobacteraceae that predominates in Fe(III)-reducing subsurface environments, can grow by coupling the oxidation of hydrogen to the reduction of a variety of electron acceptors, including Fe(III), fumarate, and quinones. An examination of the G. sulfurreducens genome revealed two operons, hya and hyb, which appeared to encode periplasmically oriented respiratory uptake hydrogenases. In order to assess the roles of these two enzymes in hydrogen-dependent growth, Hya- and Hyb-deficient mutants were generated by gene replacement. Hyb was found to be required for hydrogen-dependent reduction of Fe(III), anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate, and fumarate by resting cell suspensions and to be essential for growth with hydrogen and these three electron acceptors. Hya, in contrast, was not. These findings suggest that Hyb is an essential respiratory hydrogenase in G. sulfurreducens. (+info)
Automated purification and suspension array detection of 16S rRNA from soil and sediment extracts by using tunable surface microparticles.
Autonomous, field-deployable molecular detection systems require seamless integration of complex biochemical solutions and physical or mechanical processing steps. In an attempt to simplify the fluidic requirements for integrated biodetection systems, we used tunable surface microparticles both as an rRNA affinity purification resin in a renewable microcolumn sample preparation system and as the sensor surface in a flow cytometer detector. The tunable surface detection limits in both low- and high-salt buffers were 1 ng of total RNA ( approximately 10(4) cell equivalents) in 15-min test tube hybridizations and 10 ng of total RNA ( approximately 10(5) cell equivalents) in hybridizations with the automated system (30-s contact time). RNA fragmentation was essential for achieving tunable surface suspension array specificity. Chaperone probes reduced but did not completely eliminate cross-hybridization, even with probes sharing <50% identity to target sequences. Nonpurified environmental extracts did not irreparably affect our ability to classify color-coded microparticles, but residual environmental constituents significantly quenched the Alexa-532 reporter fluor. Modulating surface charge did not influence the interaction of soluble environmental contaminants with conjugated beads. The automated system greatly reduced the effects of fluorescence quenching, especially in the soil background. The automated system was as efficacious as manual methods for simultaneous sample purification, hybridization, and washing prior to flow cytometry detection. The implications of unexpected target cross-hybridization and fluorescence quenching are discussed relative to the design and implementation of an integrated microbial monitoring system. (+info)
Vanadium respiration by Geobacter metallireducens: novel strategy for in situ removal of vanadium from groundwater.
Vanadium can be an important contaminant in groundwaters impacted by mining activities. In order to determine if microorganisms of the Geobacteraceae, the predominant dissimilatory metal reducers in many subsurface environments, were capable of reducing vanadium(V), Geobacter metallireducens was inoculated into a medium in which acetate was the electron donor and vanadium(V) was the sole electron acceptor. Reduction of vanadium(V) resulted in the production of vanadium(IV), which subsequently precipitated. Reduction of vanadium(V) was associated with cell growth with a generation time of 15 h. No vanadium(V) was reduced and no precipitate was formed in heat-killed or abiotic controls. Acetate was the most effective of all the electron donors evaluated. When acetate was injected into the subsurface to enhance the growth and activity of Geobacteraceae in an aquifer contaminated with uranium and vanadium, vanadium was removed from the groundwater even more effectively than uranium. These studies demonstrate that G. metallireducens can grow via vanadium(V) respiration and that stimulating the activity of Geobacteraceae, and hence vanadium(V) reduction, can be an effective strategy for in situ immobilization of vanadium in contaminated subsurface environments. (+info)