Iron(III) Modification of Bacillus subtilis Membranes Provides Record Sorption Capacity for Arsenic and Endows Unusual Selectivity for As(V)
journal contributionposted on 22.02.2016, 05:23 by Ting Yang, Ming-Li Chen, Lan-Hua Liu, Jian-Hua Wang, Purnendu K. Dasgupta
Bacillus subtilis is a spore forming bacterium that takes up both inorganic As(III) and As(V). Incubating the bacteria with Fe(III) causes iron uptake (up to ∼0.5% w/w), and some of the iron attaches to the cell membrane as hydrous ferric oxide (HFO) with additional HFO as a separate phase. Remarkably, 30% of the Bacillus subtilis cells remain viable after treatment by 8 mM Fe(III). At pH 3, upon metalation, As(III) binding capacity becomes ∼0, while that for As(V) increases more than three times, offering an unusual high selectivity for As(V) against As(III). At pH 10 both arsenic forms are sorbed, the As(V) sorption capacity of the ferrated Bacillus subtilis is at least of 11 times higher than that of the native bacteria. At pH 8 (close to pH of most natural water), the arsenic binding capacity per mole iron for the ferrated bacteria is greater than those reported for any iron containing sorbent. A sensitive arsenic speciation approach is thus developed based on the binding of inorganic arsenic species by the ferrated bacteria and its unusual high selectivity toward As(V) at low pH.