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Biomineralization of Cu2S nanoparticles by Geobacter sulfurreducens

DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00967-20 DOI Help

Authors: Richard L. Kimber (University of Manchester) , Heath Bagshaw (University of Manchester) , Kurt Smith (University of Manchester) , Dawn M. Buchanan (University of Manchester) , Victoria S. Coker (University of Manchester) , Jennifer S. Cavet (University of Manchester) , Jonathan R. Lloyd (University of Manchester)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Applied And Environmental Microbiology

State: Published (Approved)
Published: July 2020
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 13705 , 16136

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Biomineralization of Cu has been shown to control contaminant dynamics and transport in soils. However, very little is known about the role that subsurface microorganisms may play in the biogeochemical cycling of Cu. In this study, we investigate the bioreduction of Cu(II) by the subsurface metal-reducing bacterium, Geobacter sulfurreducens. Rapid removal of Cu from solution was observed in cell suspensions of G. sulfurreducens when supplied with Cu(II), while transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses showed the formation of electron dense nanoparticles associated with the cell surface. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) point analysis and EDX spectrum image maps revealed the nanoparticles are rich in both Cu and S. This was confirmed by x-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) and extended X-Ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) analyses which identified the nanoparticles as Cu2S. Biomineralization of CuxS nanoparticles in soils has been reported to enhance the colloidal transport of a number of contaminants including Pb, Cd, and Hg. However, formation of these CuxS nanoparticles has only been observed under sulfate-reducing conditions and could not be repeated using isolates of implicated organisms. As G. sulfurreducens is unable to respire sulfate, and no reducible sulfur was supplied to the cells, these data suggest a novel mechanism for the biomineralization of Cu2S under anoxic conditions. The implications of these findings for the biogeochemical cycling of Cu and other metals as well as the green production of Cu catalysts are discussed.

Journal Keywords: Geobacter sulfurreducens; copper; nanoparticles; Cu2S; bioreduction

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials, Earth Science, Chemistry


Instruments: B18-Core EXAFS

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Applied and Environmental Microbiology-2020-Kimber-AEM.00967-20.full.pdf

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