Iron-Reducing Bacteria - Ecology, Significance and Potential Uses
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Iron-reducing bacteria are able to couple the oxidation of an electron donor to the reduction of Fe(III) to Fe(II) under anaerobic conditions in the generation of cellular energy. Recent evidence suggests that these bacteria are phylogenetically diverse and widely distributed in nature. Our laboratory has isolated thermophilic, thermotolerant and mesophilic iron-reducing bacteria from numerous petroleum reservoirs with varying conditions, groundwaters of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB), and petroleum-contaminated soils. Some of these isolates have been identified as novel species and from genera such as Deferribacter, Bacillus, Alkaliphilus, Clostridium and Thermoanaerobacter. Further investigations have shown that these bacteria are metabolically diverse, not only capable of reducing different metal species but also able to use a range of organic compounds, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, for growth. Due to their abundance and metabolic capabilities, it is possible that iron-reducing bacteria may be important in microbially-enhanced oil recovery processes and in the bioremediation of contaminated soils and aquifers, particularly in anaerobic zones.
Bac-Min 2004 Conference