Eswayah AS, Smith TJ, Scheinost AC, Hondow N, Gardiner PHE.
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2017 Sep;101(17):6713-6724. doi: 10.1007/s00253-017-8380-8. Epub 2017 Jun 23.
Methane-oxidizing bacteria are well known for their role in the global methane cycle and their potential for microbial transformation of wide range of hydrocarbon and chlorinated hydrocarbon pollution. Recently, it has also emerged that methane-oxidizing bacteria interact with inorganic pollutants in the environment. Here, we report what we believe to be the first study of the interaction of pure strains of methane-oxidizing bacteria with selenite. Results indicate that the commonly used laboratory model strains of methane-oxidizing bacteria, Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) and Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b, are both able to reduce the toxic selenite (SeO(3)(2-)) but not selenate (SeO(4)(2-)) to red spherical nanoparticulate elemental selenium (Se(0)), which was characterized via energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS). The cultures also produced volatile selenium-containing species, which suggests that both strains may have an additional activity that can transform either Se(0) or selenite into volatile methylated forms of selenium. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) measurements and experiments with the cell fractions cytoplasm, cell wall and cell membrane show that the nanoparticles are formed mainly on the cell wall. Collectively, these results are promising for the use of methane-oxidizing bacteria for bioremediation or suggest possible uses in the production of selenium nanoparticles for biotechnology.