State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008NJ161B
Title: Microbial Mobilization of Arsenic and Selenium Oxyanions in Subsurface Aquifers
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 6
Focus Categories: Groundwater, Toxic Substances, Water Quality
Principal Investigators: Rauschenbach, Ines ; Haggblom, Max
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 13,038
Abstract: Arsenic (As) and selenium (Se) toxicity and their ever-increasing contamination of groundwater and soil has become a global concern threatening the lives of tens of millions of people. The soluble forms selenate (Se(VI)) and selenite (Se(IV)) are the primary forms of selenium in oxic environments and both are toxic. Elemental, water-insoluble selenium (Se(0)) is the dominant species in anoxic sediments and is non-toxic. The oxidation and reduction of the As and Se aew mediated predominantly by the microbial populations present in the subsurface environments. Despite identification of many new isolates and ongoing research on the reduction and oxidation of the As and Se oxyanions has taken place, we still do not know much about the physiology and ecology of the diverse group of bacteria that mediate these processes. Further knowledge about selenate/selenite/arsenate-respiring organisms will provide a better understanding of the role microbes play in the cycling of these oxyanions. Selenospirillum indicus isolated in our laboratory, is the first cultured species of the proposed new genus "Selenospirillum," capable of selenate, selenite, and arsenate reduction. Our specific objectives for this project include: a) Annotate the genome of Selenospirillum indicus genome, b) Identify of genes encoding respiratory reductases for arsenic and selenium by mutagenesis and/or disruption; c) Characterize gene regulation in presence/absence of arsenic and selenium and other respiratory electron acceptors (e.g. nitrate), d) Examine arsenic and selenium respiration from contaminated sites.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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