Geobacter daltonii sp. nov., an Fe(III)- and uranium(VI)-reducing bacterium isolated from a shallow subsurface exposed to mixed heavy metal and hydrocarbon contamination

Om Prakash, Thomas M Gihring, Dava D Dalton, Kuk-Jeong Chin, Stefan J Green, Denise M Akob, Greg Wanger, Joel E Kostka
International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 2010, 60: 546-53
An Fe(III)- and uranium(VI)-reducing bacterium, designated strain FRC-32(T), was isolated from a contaminated subsurface of the USA Department of Energy Oak Ridge Field Research Center (ORFRC) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the sediments are exposed to mixed waste contamination of radionuclides and hydrocarbons. Analyses of both 16S rRNA gene and the Geobacteraceae-specific citrate synthase (gltA) mRNA gene sequences retrieved from ORFRC sediments indicated that this strain was abundant and active in ORFRC subsurface sediments undergoing uranium(VI) bioremediation. The organism belonged to the subsurface clade of the genus Geobacter and shared 92-98 % 16S rRNA gene and 75-81 % rpoB gene sequence similarities with other recognized species of the genus. In comparison to its closest relative, Geobacter uraniireducens Rf4(T), according to 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity, strain FRC-32(T) showed a DNA-DNA relatedness value of 21 %. Cells of strain FRC-32(T) were Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, curved rods, 1.0-1.5 microm long and 0.3-0.5 microm in diameter; the cells formed pink colonies in a semisolid cultivation medium, a characteristic feature of the genus Geobacter. The isolate was an obligate anaerobe, had temperature and pH optima for growth at 30 degrees C and pH 6.7-7.3, respectively, and could tolerate up to 0.7 % NaCl although growth was better in the absence of NaCl. Similar to other members of the Geobacter group, strain FRC-32(T) conserved energy for growth from the respiration of Fe(III)-oxyhydroxide coupled with the oxidation of acetate. Strain FRC-32(T) was metabolically versatile and, unlike its closest relative, G. uraniireducens, was capable of utilizing formate, butyrate and butanol as electron donors and soluble ferric iron (as ferric citrate) and elemental sulfur as electron acceptors. Growth on aromatic compounds including benzoate and toluene was predicted from preliminary genomic analyses and was confirmed through successive transfer with fumarate as the electron acceptor. Thus, based on genotypic, phylogenetic and phenotypic differences, strain FRC-32(T) is considered to represent a novel species of the genus Geobacter, for which the name Geobacter daltonii sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is FRC-32(T) (=DSM 22248(T)=JCM 15807(T)).

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