Role of microbial manganese respiration in the anaerobic cycling of nitrogen

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Szeinbaum, Nadia Heliana
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Despite the environmental significance of microbial manganese reduction, the molecular mechanism of microbial manganese respiration remains poorly understood. Soluble Mn(III) has been recently found to be a dominant soluble species in aquatic systems, yet little is known about the identity of microbial populations catalyzing Mn(III) reduction in the environment nor the molecular mechanism of Mn(III) respiration. In this research, a suite of Mn(III) reduction-deficient mutant strains were isolated, including Mn(III) reduction-deficient mutant strain Mn3-1 that also displayed the ability to reduce soluble organic-Fe(III), but not solid Fe(III) oxides, demonstrating for the first time that the reduction of soluble organic-Fe(III) and solid Fe(III) oxides proceed through electron transport pathways with at least one distinct component. This work also shows that the electron transport pathway for Mn(III) reduction in S. oneidensis shares many of the electron transport components of Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction pathways and that Mn(IV) reduction to Mn(II) proceeds step-wise through two one-electron transfer reactions with Mn(III) as a transient intermediate. Finally, sediment incubations were carried out to enrich for NH4+ oxidizing- Mn(III) reducing consortia. The Mn(III) reducing consortium was found to be dominated by an electrogenic Ochrobactrum sp. and a Shewanella sp. The isolated Shewanella strain is able to oxidize acetate with Mn(III) as electron acceptor, an activity never observed before in a metal-reducing member of the Shewanella genus.
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