Continuous cultivation of the lithoautotrophic nitrate-reducing Fe(II)-oxidizing  culture KS in a chemostat bioreactor

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Timm Bayer, Elizabeth Tomaszewski, Casey Bryce, Andreas Kappler, James Martin Byrne


Laboratory-based studies on microbial Fe(II) oxidation are commonly performed over just a few weeks in small volumes with high substrate concentrations, resulting in geochemical gradients and volumetric effects caused by sampling. We used a chemostat to enable uninterrupted supply of medium, and investigated autotrophic growth of the nitrate-reducing Fe(II)-oxidizing culture KS for 24 days. We analysed Fe- and N-speciation, cell-mineral associations, and the identity of minerals. Results were compared to different batch systems (50 and 700 ml – static/shaken). The Fe(II) oxidation rate was highest in the chemostat with 7.57 mM Fe(II) d-1, while the extent was similar (averaged 92% of all Fe(II)). Short-range ordered Fe(III) phases, presumably ferrihydrite, precipitated and later goethite was detected in the chemostat. 1 mM solid phase Fe(II) remained in the chemostat, up to 15 µM of reactive nitrite was measured, and 42% of visualized cells were partially or completely mineral-encrusted, likely caused by abiotic oxidation of Fe(II) by nitrite. Despite (partial) encrustation, cells were still viable. Our results show that even with similar oxidation rates as in batch cultures, cultivating Fe(II)-oxidizing microorganisms under continuous conditions reveals mechanistic insights on the role of reactive intermediates for Fe(II) oxidation, mineral formation and cell-mineral interactions.





Fe(II) oxidation, nitrite, cell encrustation, autotrophic, NRFeOx


Published: 2021-12-07 20:24

Last Updated: 2021-12-08 04:24


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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