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Chapter 9 : Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature

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Abstract:

This chapter discusses the biogeochemical reduction of selenate (Se(VI)) and arsenate (As(V)) when they enter anoxic environments and are used as electron acceptors for the oxidation of organic matter. These reductions are of a dissimilative nature and support the anaerobic growth of selected bacteria which conserve energy from this process. The chapter summarizes what is known about the bacteria's taxonomy, physiology, and biochemistry. Reduction to the solid, relatively unreactive Se(0) represents a mechanism for the removal of toxic Se(VI) and Se(IV) from natural waters. The environmental ramifications of these issues are also discussed in the chapter. The number of bacterial species known to respire selenate and arsenate continues to increase. The biological reduction of selenate and arsenate occurs for a number of reasons. In general, these are assimilation, regulation of reducing equivalents, detoxification, and dissimilation. Each is discussed in detail in the chapter. The realization that arsenate and selenate are indeed suitable electron acceptors and are readily available in both natural and contaminated environments suggests that even more unrelated species will be discovered. The initial biochemical studies also suggest that there may be different pathways for selenate and arsenate reduction, with specific terminal reductases and cytochromes.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9

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Chemicals
0.50465006
Nitrates and Nitrites
0.4878534
Scanning Electron Microscopy
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Transmission Electron Microscopy
0.46157122
16s rRNA Sequencing
0.43746597
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Figures

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Figure 1

Dissolved selenate, selenite, sulfate, and chloride in the porewaters of sediments from an agricultural wastewater evaporation pond located in the San Joaquin Valley, Calif. Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 2

Chemical gradients in Mono Lake during a period of meromixis in the 1980s. Reprinted from reference , with permission of the publisher.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 3

Arsenate reduction in estuarine sediments incubated under an atmosphere of nitrogen (A), hydrogen (B), air (C), or nitrogen with autoclaved sediments (D). Symbols: o As(V); ●, As(III). Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Image of Figure 4
Figure 4

Reduction of Se(VI) by sediments from Hunter Drain located in western Nevada. Counts in pellet indicate the formation of Se(0). Sediments were incubated at ambient Se(VI) concentrations of ∼0.5 M with no additions or with addition of 17 M unlabeled Se(VI) or were heat killed and incubated with ambient levels of Se(VI). Reprinted from reference with permission of the publisher.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 5

(A) Reduction of Se(VI) to solid Se(V) by sediments taken from Massie Slough in western Nevada. (B) Recovery of counts into various solvent fractions. Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 6

Michaelis-Menten kinetics displayed by selenate reduction in sediments from Massie Slough. Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 7

Metabolism of [2-C]acetate to CH and CO by estuarine sediments incubated with 10 mM sulfate, with sulfate plus 1, 10, or 20 mM molybdate, or with sulfate plus 1, 10, or 20 mM selenate. Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 8

Metabolism of [2-C]acetate to CH and CO by anoxic sediments from salt marsh (A) or freshwater lake (B) sources in the presence of different concentrations of arsenate. Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Image of Figure 9
Figure 9

Selenate reduction activity in depth profiles taken from three sites in western Nevada: (A) South Lead Lake; (B) Hunter Drain; and (C) Massie Slough. Symbols: ●·, 0 to 5 cm; o, 5 to 10 cm; ■, 10 to 15 cm. Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 10

Electron micrographs of the selenium-reducing bacteria strain SES-3 (A and B), strain E-1H from Mono Lake (C and D), and strain MLS-10 from Mono Lake (E and F). (A, C, and E) Scanning electron microscopy by J. Switzer Blum, A. Burns, and R. S. Oremland (unpublished). (B. D, and F) Transmission electron microscopy by J. F. Stolz. Bars, 0.5 m. Extracellular ball-like particles in panel E are elemental selenium as determined from X-ray energy-dispersive spectrometry done in association with the scanning electron microscopy.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 11

Phylogenic trees based on 16S rRNA sequence data using maximum-parsimony analysis of the gram-positive arsenate- and selenate-reducing bacterium E1-H (A) and the gram-negative arsenate- and selenate-reducing bacterium strain SES-3 and the arsenate-reducing bacterium strain MIT-13 (B).

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 12

Growth of strain SES-3 with Se(VI) as the electron acceptor. Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 13

Growth of strain E-IH in Mono Lake water with Se(VI) as the electron acceptor. From J. Switzer Blum, A. Burns Bindi, and R. S. Oremland, unpublished data.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 14

Growth of strain MLS-10 in Mono Lake water with Se(IV) as the electron acceptor. From J. Switzer Blum, A. Burns Bindi, and R. S. Oremland, unpublished data.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Figure 15

Growth of strain SES-3 with As(V) as the electron acceptor. Reprinted from reference with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9
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Tables

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Table 1

Standard potentials, free energies, and molar growth yields of three species of selenate- and /or arsenate-reducing bacteria

Citation: Oremland R, Stolz J. 2000. Dissimilatory Reduction of Selenate and Arsenate in Nature, p 199-224. In Lovley D (ed), Environmental Microbe-Metal Interactions. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818098.ch9

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