High- and low-affinity binding sites for Cd on the bacterial cell walls of Bacillus subtilis and Shewanella oneidensis

Mishra, B.; Boyanov, M.; Bunker, B.A.; Kelly, S.D.; Kemner, K.M.; Fein, J.B.

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74.15: 4219-4233


ISSN/ISBN: 0016-7037
DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2010.02.019
Accession: 037071845

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Bulk Cd adsorption isotherm experiments, thermodynamic equilibrium modeling, and Cd K edge EXAFS were used to constrain the mechanisms of proton and Cd adsorption to bacterial cells of the commonly occurring Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, Bacillus subtilis and Shewanella oneidensis, respectively. Potentiometric titrations were used to characterize the functional group reactivity of the S. oneidensis cells, and we model the titration data using the same type of non-electrostatic surface complexation approach as was applied to titrations of B. subtilis suspensions by Fein et al. (2005). Similar to the results for B. subtilis, the S. oneidensis cells exhibit buffering behavior from approximately pH 3-9 that requires the presence of four distinct sites, with pK(a) values of 3.3 + or - 0.2, 4.8 + or - 0.2, 6.7 + or - 0.4, and 9.4 + or - 0.5, and site concentrations of 8.9(+ or -2.6) x 10(-5) , 1.3(+ or -0.2) x 10(-4) , 5.9(+ or -3.3) x 10(-5) , and 1.1(+ or -0.6) x 10(-4) moles/g bacteria (wet mass), respectively. The bulk Cd isotherm adsorption data for both species, conducted at pH 5.9 as a function of Cd concentration at a fixed biomass concentration, were best modeled by reactions with a Cd:site stoichiometry of 1:1. EXAFS data were collected for both bacterial species as a function of Cd concentration at pH 5.9 and 10 g/L bacteria. The EXAFS results show that the same types of binding sites are responsible for Cd sorption to both bacterial species at all Cd loadings tested (1-200 ppm). Carboxyl sites are responsible for the binding at intermediate Cd loadings. Phosphoryl ligands are more important than carboxyl ligands for Cd binding at high Cd loadings. For the lowest Cd loadings studied here, a sulfhydryl site was found to dominate the bound Cd budgets for both species, in addition to the carboxyl and phosphoryl sites that dominate the higher loadings. The EXAFS results suggest that both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial cell walls have a low concentration of very high-affinity sulfhydryl sites which become masked by the more abundant carboxyl and phosphoryl sites at higher metal:bacteria ratios. This study demonstrates that metal loading plays a vital role in determining the important metal-binding reactions that occur on bacterial cell walls, and that high affinity, low-density sites can be revealed by spectroscopy of biomass samples. Such sites may control the fate and transport of metals in realistic geologic settings, where metal concentrations are low.