Heavy Metal Reduction by DesulfitobacteriumEPA Grant Number: U916018
Title: Heavy Metal Reduction by Desulfitobacterium
Investigators: Harzman, Christina
Institution: Michigan State University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $101,777
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2001) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Microbiology , Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences
The objective of this research project is to explore which heavy metals are capable of being reduced, at what rate the metals are being reduced, and which genes are being expressed differentially by seven species of Desulfitobacterium.
Heavy metal mining, consumption, and disposal by both commercial and federal agencies have led to widespread contamination. Depending on the heavy metal, the element may remain stable at high concentrations in smaller pockets or disperse into widespread, low-level contamination. Cleanup methods of widespread, low-level contamination often are expensive, and the metal is generally better left as is, rather than dredging up and disposing of the immense soil load. Using bacteria to contain and potentially concentrate the heavy metal contamination for effective disposal has the potential to be very cost-effective and biologically less invasive than other remediation efforts. One potential heavy metal-reducing bacterial genus is the known anaerobic sulfate-reducer, Desulfitobacterium. The results of this research project then may be utilized to create the optimal conditions for this heavy metal bioremediation to occur in nature.