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Oremland, Ronald S

Life is mostly composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus. Although these six elements make up nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids and thus the bulk of living matter, it is theoretically possible that some other elements in the periodic table could serve the same functions. Here, we describe a bacterium, strain GFAJ-1 of the Halomonadaceae, isolated from Mono Lake, California, that is able to substitute arsenic for phosphorus to sustain its growth. Our data show evidence for arsenate in macromolecules that normally contain phosphate, most notably nucleic acids and proteins. Exchange of one of the major bio-elements may have profound evolutionary and geochemical importance.
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Bacteria in soil microcosm experiments oxidized elevated levels of methyl chloride (MeCl) and methyl bromide (MeBr), the former compound more rapidly than the latter. MeBr was also removed by chemical reactions while MeCl was not. Chemical degradation dominated the early removal of MeBr and accounted for more than half of its total loss. Fractionation of stable carbon isotopes during chemical degradation of MeBr resulted in a kinetic isotope effect (KIE) of 59 ± 7‰. Soil bacterial oxidation dominated the later removal of MeBr and MeCl and was characterized by different KIEs for each compound. The KIE for MeBr oxidation was 69 ± 9‰ and the KIE for MeCl oxidation was 49 ± 3‰. Stable isotope probing revealed that different...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
The bacterial strains IMB-1T and CC495T, which are capable of growth on methyl chloride (CH3Cl, chloromethane) and methyl bromide (CH3Br, bromomethane), were isolated from agricultural soil in California fumigated with CH3Br, and woodland soil in Northern Ireland, respectively. Two pesticide-/herbicide-degrading bacteria, strains ER2 and C147, were isolated from agricultural soil in Canada. Strain ER2 degrades N-methyl carbamate insecticides, and strain C147 degrades triazine herbicides widely used in agriculture. On the basis of their morphological, physiological and genotypic characteristics, these four strains are considered to represent two novel species of the genus Aminobacter, for which the names Aminobacter...
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Certain anaerobic bacteria respire toxic selenium oxyanions and in doing so produce extracellular accumulations of elemental selenium [Se(0)]. We examined three physiologically and phylogenetically diverse species of selenate- and selenite-respiring bacteria, Sulfurospirillum barnesii, Bacillus selenitireducens, and Selenihalanaerobacter shriftii, for the occurrence of this phenomenon. When grown with selenium oxyanions as the electron acceptor, all of these organisms formed extracellular granules consisting of stable, uniform nanospheres (diameter, ∼300 nm) of Se(0) having monoclinic crystalline structures. Intracellular packets of Se(0) were also noted. The number of intracellular Se(0) packets could be reduced...
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