Journal article Open Access

Biotransformation of pertechnetate by Clostridia

Francis, Arokiasamy J.; Dodge, Cleveland J.; Meinken, G. E.

Clostridia are strict anaerobic, spore-forming, fermentative bacteria commonly present in soils, sediments, and wastes; and, they play a major role in the decomposition of a wide variety of organic compounds. They also are involved in the reduction of iron, manganese, and uranium, thereby affecting their solubility. However, little is known of the ability of Clostridia to reduce technetium (Tc). We investigated the reduction and precipitation of pertechnetate by Clostridium sphenoides able to metabolize citrate as its sole carbon source, and Clostridium sp. capable of fermenting glucose but not citric acid. Both species reduced Tc(VII) to Tc(IV), although C. sphenoides did so at a greater rate and extent than Clostridium sp. The reduced Tc was predominantly associated with the cell biomass. It also was present in solution complexed with bacterial metabolic products (MW>5000). Adding diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) to Clostridium sp. resulted in the formation of a soluble Tc(IV)-DTPA complex, whereas with C. sphenoides only a small amount of Tc was present in solution, indicating that insoluble Tc species were formed. These results suggest that Clostridia may play a major role in regulating the mobility of Tc under anaerobic conditions in wastes and subsurface environments.

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