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Low Temperature Reduction Of Hexavalent Chromium By A Microbial Enrichment Consortium And A Novel Strain Of Arthrobacter Aurescens

Rene' N Horton, W. Apel, Vicki S. Thompson, P. P. Sheridan
Published 2005 · Biology, Medicine

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BackgroundChromium is a transition metal most commonly found in the environment in its trivalent [Cr(III)] and hexavalent [Cr(VI)] forms. The EPA maximum total chromium contaminant level for drinking water is 0.1 mg/l (0.1 ppm). Many water sources, especially underground sources, are at low temperatures (less than or equal to 15 Centigrade) year round. It is important to evaluate the possibility of microbial remediation of Cr(VI) contamination using microorganisms adapted to these low temperatures (psychrophiles).ResultsCore samples obtained from a Cr(VI) contaminated aquifer at the Hanford facility in Washington were enriched in Vogel Bonner medium at 10 Centigrade with 0, 25, 50, 100, 200, 400 and 1000 mg/l Cr(VI). The extent of Cr(VI) reduction was evaluated using the diphenyl carbazide assay. Resistance to Cr(VI) up to and including 1000 mg/l Cr(VI) was observed in the consortium experiments. Reduction was slow or not observed at and above 100 mg/l Cr(VI) using the enrichment consortium. Average time to complete reduction of Cr(VI) in the 30 and 60 mg/l Cr(VI) cultures of the consortium was 8 and 17 days, respectively at 10 Centigrade. Lyophilized consortium cells did not demonstrate adsorption of Cr(VI) over a 24 hour period. Successful isolation of a Cr(VI) reducing organism (designated P4) from the consortium was confirmed by 16S rDNA amplification and sequencing. Average time to complete reduction of Cr(VI) at 10 Centigrade in the 25 and 50 mg/l Cr(VI) cultures of the isolate P4 was 3 and 5 days, respectively. The 16S rDNA sequence from isolate P4 identified this organism as a strain of Arthrobacter aurescens, a species that has not previously been shown to be capable of low temperature Cr(VI) reduction.ConclusionA. aurescens, indigenous to the subsurface, has the potential to be a predominant metal reducer in enhanced, in situ subsurface bioremediation efforts involving Cr(VI) and possibly other heavy metals and radionuclides.
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