Chapter 18 : The Role of Bacterial Spores in Metal Cycling and Their Potential Application in Metal Contaminant Bioremediation

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Life and elemental cycles are intertwined through biogeochemistry. Organisms not only order atoms into dynamic molecules, they also help control the composition of their natural environments along with chemical, physical, and geological processes. Elements such as C, H, O, N, P, and S make up the backbone of life on earth. These, combined with a suite of trace nutrients including metals such as Fe, Cu, and Mn, compose all the structural, mechanical, and messaging components of the cell. They are fixed from the environment and cycled through metabolic transformations. Eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms are abundant and perform many geochemical cycling processes including biotransformation, mineral dissolution, and biomineralization. This review focuses on the contribution of bacteria and, more specifically, bacterial spores to metal speciation in the environment. Many of these metal transformations are required for cellular metabolism and are facilitated by metals via electron transfer in metal-protein centers.

Citation: Butterfield C, Lee S, Tebo B. 2016. The Role of Bacterial Spores in Metal Cycling and Their Potential Application in Metal Contaminant Bioremediation, p 367-386. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0018-2013
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Figure 1

Schematic diagrams of remediation by bacterial inoculation and biobarrier installation (top) and remediation by pump and treat method (bottom).

Citation: Butterfield C, Lee S, Tebo B. 2016. The Role of Bacterial Spores in Metal Cycling and Their Potential Application in Metal Contaminant Bioremediation, p 367-386. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0018-2013
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Figure 2

Transmission electron micrograph sp. SG-1 spore with spiny MnO oxides localized to the exosporium from reference (bar = 0.25 µm).

Citation: Butterfield C, Lee S, Tebo B. 2016. The Role of Bacterial Spores in Metal Cycling and Their Potential Application in Metal Contaminant Bioremediation, p 367-386. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0018-2013
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Figure 3

Proposed Mn(II) oxidation mechanism by spp. multicopper oxidase MnxG (adapted from reference ).

Citation: Butterfield C, Lee S, Tebo B. 2016. The Role of Bacterial Spores in Metal Cycling and Their Potential Application in Metal Contaminant Bioremediation, p 367-386. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0018-2013
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Figure 4

Examples of oxidation and sorption of metals by bacterial spores.

Citation: Butterfield C, Lee S, Tebo B. 2016. The Role of Bacterial Spores in Metal Cycling and Their Potential Application in Metal Contaminant Bioremediation, p 367-386. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0018-2013
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Table 1

Examples of elements precipitated by bacteria

Citation: Butterfield C, Lee S, Tebo B. 2016. The Role of Bacterial Spores in Metal Cycling and Their Potential Application in Metal Contaminant Bioremediation, p 367-386. In Driks A, Eichenberger P (ed), The Bacterial Spore: from Molecules to Systems. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBS-0018-2013