Analysis of the genetic potential and gene expression of microbial communities involved in the in situ bioremediation of uranium and harvesting electrical energy from organic matter

OMICS. 2002;6(4):331-9. doi: 10.1089/153623102321112755.

Abstract

The proposed research will investigate two microbial communities that are of direct relevance to Department of Energy interests. One is the microbial community associated with the in situ bioremediation of uranium-contaminated groundwater. The second is a microbial community that harvests energy from waste organic matter in the form of electricity. These studies will address DOE needs for (1) remediation of metals and radionuclides at DOE sites and (2) the development of cleaner forms of energy and biomass conversion to energy. Our previous studies have demonstrated that the microbial communities involved in uranium bioremediation and energy harvesting are both dominated by microorganisms in the family Geobacteraceae and that the organisms in this family are responsible for uranium bioremediation and electron transfer to electrodes. The initial objectives of this study are to (1) describe the genetic potential of the Geobacteraceae that predominate in the environments of interest; (2) identify conserved patterns of gene expression within the Geobacteraceae family in response to a range of environmental conditions; (3) begin to identify mechanisms controlling the expression of key genes related to survival, growth, and activity in subsurface environments and on electrodes; and (4) use the results from subobjectives 1-3 to develop a conceptual model for predicting gene expression of Geobacteraceae in the environments of interest. This will serve as the basis for a subsequent simulation model of the growth and activity of Geobacteraceae in the subsurface and on electrodes.

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental*
  • Deltaproteobacteria / genetics*
  • Electricity*
  • Electrodes
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Uranium / metabolism*

Substances

  • Uranium