Chemistry Faculty Publications

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We investigate the single-cell reduction of toxic Cr(VI) by the dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 (MR-1), an important bioremediation process, using Raman spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) combined with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Our experiments indicate that the toxic, highly soluble Cr(VI) can be efficiently reduced to less toxic, nonsoluble Cr2O3 nanoparticles by MR-1. Cr2O3 is observed to emerge as nanoparticles adsorbed on the cell surface and its chemical nature is identified by EDX imaging and Raman spectroscopy. Co-localization of Cr2O3 and cytochromes by EDX imaging and Raman spectroscopy suggests a terminal reductase role for MR-1 surface-exposed cytochromes MtrC and OmcA. Our experiments revealed that the cooperation of surface proteins OmcA and MtrC makes the reduction reaction most efficient, and the sequence of the reducing reactivity of MR-1 is wild type > single mutant Delta mtrC or mutant Delta omcA > double mutant (Delta omcA-Delta mtrC). Moreover, our results also suggest that direct microbial Cr(VI) reduction and Fe(II) (hematite)-mediated Cr(VI) reduction mechanisms may coexist in the reduction processes.

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