Molecular analysis of arsenate-reducing bacteria within Cambodian sediments following amendment with acetate

G. Lear, B. Song, A. G. Gault, D. A. Polya, J. R. Lloyd

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The health of millions is threatened by the use of groundwater contaminated with sediment-derived arsenic for drinking water and irrigation purposes in Southeast Asia. The microbial reduction of sorbed As(V) to the potentially more mobile As(III) has been implicated in release of arsenic into groundwater, but to date there have been few studies of the microorganisms that can mediate this transformation in aquifers. With the use of stable isotope probing of nucleic acids, we present evidence that the introduction of a proxy for organic matter (13C-labeled acetate) stimulated As(V) reduction in sediments collected from a Cambodian aquifer that hosts arsenic-rich groundwater. This was accompanied by an increase in the proportion of prokaryotes closely related to the dissimilatory As(V)-reducing bacteria Sulfurospirillum strain NP-4 and Desulfotomaculum auripigmentum. As(V) respiratory reductase genes (arrA) closely associated with those found in Sulfurospirillum barnesii and Geobacter uraniumreducens were also detected in active bacterial communities utilizing 13C-labeled acetate in microcosms. This study suggests a direct link between inputs of organic matter and the increased prevalence and activity of organisms which transform As(V) to the potentially more mobile and thus hazardous As(III) via dissimilatory As(V) reduction. Copyright © 2007, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1041-1048
    Number of pages7
    JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


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