Molecular characterization and in situ quantification of anoxic arsenite-oxidizing denitrifying enrichment cultures

Wenjie Sun, Reyes Sierra-Alvarez, Nuria Fernandez, Jose Luis Sanz, Ricardo Amils, Antje Legatzki, Raina M. Maier, Jim A. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


To explore the bacteria involved in the oxidation of arsenite (As(III)) under denitrifying conditions, three enrichment cultures (ECs) and one mixed culture (MC) were characterized that originated from anaerobic environmental samples. The oxidation of As(III) (0.5 mM) was dependent on NO3 - addition and N2 formation was dependent on As(III) addition. The ratio of N2-N formed to As(III) fed approximated the expected stoichiometry of 2.5. A 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis revealed three predominant phylotypes. The first, related to the genus Azoarcus from the division Betaproteobacteria, was found in the three ECs. The other two predominant phylotypes were closely related to the genera Acidovorax and Diaphorobacter within the Comamonadaceae family of Betaproteobacteria, and one of these was present in all of the cultures examined. FISH confirmed that Azoarcus accounted for a large fraction of bacteria present in the ECs. The Azoarcus clones had 96% sequence homology with Azoarcus sp. strain DAO1, an isolate previously reported to oxidize As(III) with nitrate. FISH analysis also confirmed that Comamonadaceae were present in all cultures. Pure cultures of Azoarcus and Diaphorobacter were isolated and shown to be responsible for nitrate-dependent As(III) oxidation. These results, taken as a whole, suggest that bacteria within the genus Azoarcus and the family Comamonadaceae are involved in the observed anoxic oxidation of As(III).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Anoxic
  • Arsenite
  • Azoarcus
  • Chemolithotrophic
  • Comamonadaceae
  • Oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular characterization and in situ quantification of anoxic arsenite-oxidizing denitrifying enrichment cultures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this