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Hexavalent chromium reduction in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough causes transitory inhibition of sulfate reduction and cell growth

Abstract

Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough is a well-studied sulfate reducer that can reduce heavy metals and radionuclides [e.g., Cr(VI) and U(VI)]. Cultures grown in a defined medium had a lag period of approximately 30 h when exposed to 0.05 mM Cr(VI). Substrate analyses revealed that although Cr(VI) was reduced within the first 5 h, growth was not observed for an additional 20 h. The growth lag could be explained by a decline in cell viability; however, during this time small amounts of lactate were still utilized without sulfate reduction or acetate formation. Approximately 40 h after Cr exposure (0.05 mM), sulfate reduction occurred concurrently with the accumulation of acetate. Similar amounts of hydrogen were produced by Cr-exposed cells compared to control cells, and lactate was not converted to glycogen during non-growth conditions. D. vulgaris cells treated with a reducing agent and then exposed to Cr(VI) still experienced a growth lag, but the addition of ascorbate at the time of Cr(VI) addition prevented the lag period. In addition, cells grown on pyruvate displayed more tolerance to Cr(VI) compared to lactate-grown cells. These results indicated that D. vulgaris utilized lactate during Cr(VI) exposure without the reduction of sulfate or production of acetate, and that ascorbate and pyruvate could protect D. vulgaris cells from Cr(VI)/Cr(III) toxicity.

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Acknowledgments

The research was supported by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Science under the Environmental Remediation Science Program (DOE-ER64125) and the Genomics Program: GTL through contract DE-AC02-05CH11231 between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U. S. Department of Energy. In addition, BJG and JDW were supported through the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences grant DE-FG02-87ER13713.

Author information

Correspondence to M. W. Fields.

Additional information

J.D. Wall and M.W. Fields are both affiliated to the Virtual Institute of Microbial Stress and Survival (http://vimss.lbl.gov/).

M.E. Clark and S.B. Thieman contributed equally to this work.

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Klonowska, A., Clark, M.E., Thieman, S.B. et al. Hexavalent chromium reduction in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough causes transitory inhibition of sulfate reduction and cell growth. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 78, 1007–1016 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-008-1381-x

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Keywords

  • Desulfovibrio
  • Chromium
  • Cell toxicity