Hitchcock, AP; Dynes, JJ; Lawrence, JR; Obst, M; Swerhone, GDW; Korber, DR; Leppard, GG: Soft X-ray spectromicroscopy of nickel sorption in a natural river biofilm, Geobiology, 7(4), 432-453 (2009), online: 2009-07-28, doi:10.1111/j.1472-4669.2009.00211.x [Link]

Scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) at the C 1s, O 1s, Ni 2p, Ca 2p, Mn 2p, Fe 2p, Mg 1s, Al 1s and Si 1s edges was used to study Ni sorption in a complex natural river biofilm. The 10-week grown river biofilm was exposed to 10 mg L−1 Ni2+ (as NiCl2) for 24 h. The region of the biofilm examined was dominated by filamentous structures, which were interpreted as the discarded sheaths of filamentous bacteria, as well as a sparse distribution of rod-shaped bacteria. The region also contained discrete particles with spectra similar to those of muscovite, SiO2 and CaCO3. The Ni(II) ions were selectively adsorbed by the sheaths of the filamentous bacteria. The sheaths were observed to be metal rich with significant amounts of Ca, Fe and Mn, along with the Ni. In addition, the sheaths had a large silicate content but little organic material. The metal content of the rod-shaped bacterial cells was much lower. The Fe on the sheath was mainly in the Fe(III) oxidation state. Mn was found in II, III and IV oxidation states. The Ni was likely sorbed to Mn–Fe minerals on the sheath. These STXM results have probed nano-scale biogeochemistry associated with bacterial species in a complex, natural biofilm community. They have implications for selective Ni contamination of the food chain and for developing bioremediation strategies.

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