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Biomolecular Mechanisms for Microbe-Fe(III) Oxide Interactions in Geobacter species

EMSL Project ID


The most promising strategy for the in situ bioremediation of radioactive groundwater contaminants that has been identified by the NABIR program is to stimulate the activity of dissimilatory metal-reducing microorganisms to reductively precipitate uranium, technetium, and radioactive cobalt. Previous studies suggest that in order to understand the factors controlling the growth and activity of the predominant U(VI)-reducing microorganisms during subsurface bioremediation it is important to understand how Geobacteraceae interact with the Fe(III) oxides. Therefore, the objective of this research is to investigate the outer surface of Geobacter species and to determine what outer surface structures these organisms use to access insoluble Fe(III) oxides. In the proposed supplemental research we will: 1) evaluate with novel proteomic approaches what proteins in Geobacter species, other than pili and flagella, are exposed to the extracellular environment; 2) determine which of these proteins are specifically expressed during growth on Fe(III) oxide.
These studies combine expertise in the physiology of Geobacteraceae (UMASS) with expertise in the analysis of microbial surface structure and cell-metal interactions (U. Guelph) as well as expertise in novel proteomics approaches (PNNL). This research is expected to provide insights into the factors controlling the growth and metabolism of Geobacteraceae during in situ bioremediation of uranium and to identify molecular targets that can be used to assess the activity of Geobacteraceae in the subsurface.

Project Details

Project type
Exploratory Research
Start Date
End Date


Principal Investigator

Mary Lipton
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Team Members

Terry Beveridge
University of Guelph

Derek Lovley
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Related Publications

Ding YHR, KK Hixson, M Aklujkar, MS Lipton, RD Smith, DR Lovley, and T Mester. 2008. "Proteome of Geobacter sulfurreducens grown with Fe(III) oxide or Fe(III) citrate as the electron acceptor." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta--Proteins and Proteomics 1784(12):1935-1941. doi:10.1016/j.bbapap.2008.06.011