The extremely acidophilic, Fe(III)-reducing heterotrophic bacterium Acidocella aromatica strain PFBC was tested for its potential utility in bioreduction of highly toxic heavy metal, hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI). During its aerobic growth on fructose at pH 2.5, 20 µM Cr(VI) was readily reduced to Cr(III), achieving the final Cr(VI) concentration of 0.4 µM (0.02 mg/L), meeting the WHO drinking water guideline of 0.05 mg/L. Despite of the highly inhibitory effect of Cr(VI) on cell growth at higher concentrations, especially at low pH, Cr(VI) reduction activity was readily observed in growth-decoupled cell suspensions under micro-aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Strain PFBC was not capable of anaerobic growth via dissimilatory reduction of Cr(VI), such as reported for Fe(III). In the presence of both Cr(VI) and Fe(III) under micro-aerobic condition, microbial Fe(III) reduction occurred only upon complete disappearance of Cr(VI) by its reduction to Cr(III). Following Cr(VI) reduction, the resultant Cr(III), supposedly present in the form of cationic CrIII(OH2)63+, was partially immobilized on the negatively charged cell surface through biosorption. When Cr(III) was externally provided, rather than microbially produced, it was poorly immobilized on the cell surface. Cr(VI) reducing ability was reported for the first time in Acidocella sp. in this study, and its potential role in biogeochemical cycling of Cr, as well as its possible utility in Cr(VI) bioremediation, in highly acidic environments/solutions, were discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine