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Insights into Uranium binding properties by magnetotactic bacteria
Magnetotactic bacteria are characterized by intracellular magnetic mineral crystals of magnetite (Fe3O4) or greigite (Fe3S4), which helps them to orientate themselves along the Earth's magnetic field for reaching regions of optimal oxygen concentrations. They are facultative anaerobe and usually found in a large abundance in oxic-anoxic transition zones of aquatic environments, in sediments of freshwater, brackish, marine, and hypersaline habitats . Assuming that magnetotactic bacteria can also be found in the far-field of a nuclear waste repository, studies on the interaction of a natural bacterial strain of Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1 cells with U were carried out for the first time using a multidisciplinary approach combining microscopy and different spectroscopic techniques to achieve a better molecular understanding. Results of batch sorption experiments show that Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1 can survive both in a wide pH range and with relatively high U concentrations of up to 0.1 mM, while effectively and almost completely immobilizing U in the first hours of incubation. (S)TEM/EDXS studies on ultrathin sections of cells loaded with 0.1 mM U clearly indicate that U is predominantly located in the cell wall. Since it is known from previous studies  that U often binds to the cell wall of bacteria by interacting with cell wall compounds, important ligands were used, such as peptidoglycan, lipopolysaccharide, L-rhamnose, D-(+) galactose and D-(+) mannose as possible complexants for U and measured by cryo-TRLFS combined with PARAFAC. The results show five U species and highlight the dominant role of peptidoglycan as main sorbent of U on the cell wall of Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1 cells, showing three characteristic peptidoglycan species. In-situ ATR FT-IR studies confirm the predominant binding to carboxylic functionalities and reveal that polynuclear species seem to play an important role at higher pH.
Keywords: magnetotactic bacteria; uranium; sorption; peptidoglycan
Jahrestagung der Fachgruppe Nuklearchemie 2022, 04.-06.10.2022, Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany