Hexavalent chromium reduction by Cellulomonas sp. strain ES6: the influence of carbon source, iron minerals, and electron shuttling compounds
The reduction of hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI), to trivalent chromium, Cr(III), can be an important aspect of remediation processes at contaminated sites. Cellulomonas species are found at several Cr(VI) contaminated and uncontaminated locations at the Department of Energy site in Hanford, Washington. Members of this genus have demonstrated the ability to effectively reduce Cr(VI) to Cr(III) fermentatively and therefore play a potential role in Cr(VI) remediation at this site. Batch studies were conducted with Cellulomonas sp. strain ES6 to assess the influence of various carbon sources, iron minerals, and electron shuttling compounds on Cr(VI) reduction rates as these chemical species are likely to be present in, or added to, the environment during in situ bioremediation. Results indicated that the type of carbon source as well as the type of electron shuttle present influenced Cr(VI) reduction rates. Molasses stimulated Cr(VI) reduction more effectively than pure sucrose, presumably due to presence of more easily utilizable sugars, electron shuttling compounds or compounds with direct Cr(VI) reduction capabilities. Cr(VI) reduction rates increased with increasing concentration of anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS) regardless of the carbon source. The presence of iron minerals and their concentrations did not significantly influence Cr(VI) reduction rates. However, strain ES6 or AQDS could directly reduce surface-associated Fe(III) to Fe(II), which was capable of reducing Cr(VI) at a near instantaneous rate. These results suggest the rate limiting step in these systems was the transfer of electrons from strain ES6 to the intermediate or terminal electron acceptor whether that was Cr(VI), Fe(III), or AQDS.