Anaerobic oxidation of arsenite linked to chlorate reduction

Wenjie Sun, Reyes Sierra-Alvarez, Lily Milner, Jim A. Field

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65 Scopus citations


Microorganisms play a significant role in the speciation and mobility of arsenic in the environment. In this study, the oxidation of arsenite [As(III)] to arsenate [As(V)] linked to chlorate (ClO3-)- reduction was shown to be catalyzed by sludge samples, enrichment cultures (ECs), and pure cultures incubated under anaerobic conditions. No activity was observed in treatments lacking inoculum or with heat-killed sludge, or in controls lacking ClO3- The As(III) oxidation waslinked to the complete reduction of ClO3- to Cl- and the molar ratio of As(V) formed to ClO3- consumed approached the theoretical value of 3:1 assuming the e equivalents from As(III) were used to completely reduce ClO3-. In keeping with O2 as a putative intermediate of ClO3- reduction, the ECs could also oxidize As(III) to As(V) with O2 at low concentrations. Low levels of organic carbon were essential in heterotrophic ECs but not in autotrophic ECs. 16S rRNA gene clone libraries indicated that the ECs were dominated by clones of Rhodocyclaceae (including Dechloromonas, Azospira, and Azonexus phylotypes) and Stenotrophomonas under autotrophic conditions. Additional phylotypes (Alicycliphilus, Agrobacterium, and Pseudoxanthomonas) were identified in heterotrophic ECs.Two isolated autotrophic pure cultures, Dechloromonas sp. strain ECC1-pb1 and Azospira sp. strain ECC1-pb2, were able to grow by linking the oxidationof As(III) to As(V) with the reduction of ClO 3-. Thepresence of the arsenite oxidase subunit A (aroA) gene was demonstrated with PCR in the ECs and pure cultures. This study demonstrates thatClO3 - is an alternative electron acceptor to support the microbial oxidation of As(III).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6804-6811
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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