Cr(VI) reduction and physiological toxicity are impacted by resource ratio in Desulfovibrio vulgaris


Lauren C. Franco, Sadie Steinbeisser, Grant M. Zane, Judy D. Wall, Matthew W. Fields


Applied Microbiology & Biotechnology


Desulfovibrio spp. are capable of heavy metal reduction and are well-studied systems for understanding metal fate and transport in anaerobic environments. Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough was grown under environmentally relevant conditions (i.e., temperature, nutrient limitation) to elucidate the impacts on Cr(VI) reduction on cellular physiology. Growth at 20°C was slower than 30°C and the presence of 50muM Cr(VI) caused extended lag times for all conditions, but once growth resumed the growth rate was similar to that without Cr(VI). Cr(VI) reduction rates were greatly diminished at 20°C for both 50 and 100muM Cr(VI), particularly for the electron acceptor limited (EAL) condition in which Cr(VI) reduction was much slower, the growth lag much longer (200h), and viability decreased compared to balanced (BAL) and electron donor limited (EDL) conditions. When sulfate levels were increased in the presence of Cr(VI), cellular responses improved via a shorter lag time to growth. Similar results were observed between the different resource (donor/acceptor) ratio conditions when the sulfate levels were normalized (10mM), and these results indicated that resource ratio (donor/acceptor) impacted D. vulgaris response to Cr(VI) and not merely sulfate limitation. The results suggest that temperature and resource ratios greatly impacted the extent of Cr(VI) toxicity, Cr(VI) reduction, and the subsequent cellular health via Cr(VI) influx and overall metabolic rate. The results also emphasized the need to perform experiments at lower temperatures with nutrient limitation to make accurate predictions of heavy metal reduction rates as well as physiological states in the environment.



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