Publications by authors named "Lucian C Staicu"

9 Publications

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Selenium respiration in anaerobic bacteria: Does energy generation pay off?

J Inorg Biochem 2021 Sep 5;222:111509. Epub 2021 Jun 5.

Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, MSCO3 2020, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.

Selenium (Se) respiration in bacteria was revealed for the first time at the end of 1980s. Although thermodynamically-favorable, energy-dense and documented in phylogenetically-diverse bacteria, this metabolic process appears to be accompanied by a number of challenges and numerous unanswered questions. Selenium oxyanions, SeO and SeO, are reduced to elemental Se (Se) through anaerobic respiration, the end product being solid and displaying a considerable size (up to 500 nm) at the bacterial scale. Compared to other electron acceptors used in anaerobic respiration (e.g. N, S, Fe, Mn, and As), Se is one of the few elements whose end product is solid. Furthermore, unlike other known bacterial intracellular accumulations such as volutin (inorganic polyphosphate), S, glycogen or magnetite, Se has not been shown to play a nutritional or ecological role for its host. In the context of anaerobic respiration of Se oxyanions, biogenic Se appears to be a by-product, a waste that needs proper handling, and this raises the question of the evolutionary implications of this process. Why would bacteria use a respiratory substrate that is useful, in the first place, and then highly detrimental? Interestingly, in certain artificial ecosystems (e.g. upflow bioreactors) Se might help bacterial cells to increase their density and buoyancy and thus avoid biomass wash-out, ensuring survival. This review article provides an in-depth analysis of selenium respiration (model selenium respiring bacteria, thermodynamics, respiratory enzymes, and genetic determinants), complemented by an extensive discussion about the evolutionary implications and the properties of biogenic Se using published and original/unpublished results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2021.111509DOI Listing
September 2021

Editorial: microbes vs. metals: harvest and recycle.

FEMS Microbiol Ecol 2021 04;97(5)

Department of Biological Sciences, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15282, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiab056DOI Listing
April 2021

PbS biomineralization using cysteine: Bacillus cereus and the sulfur rush.

FEMS Microbiol Ecol 2020 09;96(9)

Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, MSCO3 2020, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.

Bacillus sp. Abq, belonging to Bacillus cereus sensu lato, was isolated from an aquifer in New Mexico, USA and phylogenetically classified. The isolate possesses the unusual property of precipitating Pb(II) by using cysteine, which is degraded intracellularly to hydrogen sulfide (H2S). H2S is then exported to the extracellular environment to react with Pb(II), yielding PbS (galena). Biochemical and growth tests showed that other sulfur sources tested (sulfate, thiosulfate, and methionine) were not reduced to hydrogen sulfide. Using equimolar concentration of cysteine, 1 mM of soluble Pb(II) was removed from Lysogeny Broth (LB) medium within 120 h of aerobic incubation forming black, solid PbS, with a removal rate of 2.03 µg L-1 h-1 (∼8.7 µM L-1 h-1). The mineralogy of biogenic PbS was characterized and confirmed by XRD, HRTEM and EDX. Electron microscopy and electron diffraction identified crystalline PbS nanoparticles with a diameter <10 nm,  localized in the extracellular matrix and on the surface of the cells. This is the first study demonstrating the use of cysteine in Pb(II) precipitation as insoluble PbS and it may pave the way to PbS recovery from secondary resources, such as Pb-laden industrial effluents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiaa151DOI Listing
September 2020

Desulfurization: Critical step towards enhanced selenium removal from industrial effluents.

Chemosphere 2017 Apr 29;172:111-119. Epub 2016 Dec 29.

Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, UFR Sciences & Techniques, UMR Chrono-environnement, 6249, Besançon, France.

Selenium (Se) removal from synthetic solutions and from real Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) wastewater generated by a coal-fired power plant was studied for the first time using a commercial iron oxide impregnated strong base anion exchange resin, Purolite FerrIX A33E. In synthetic solutions, the resin showed high affinity for selenate and selenite, while sulfate exhibited a strong competition for both oxyanions. The FGD wastewater investigated is a complex system that contains Se (∼1200 μg L), SO (∼1.1 g L), Cl (∼9.5 g L), and Ca (∼5 g L), alongside a broad spectrum of toxic trace metals including Cd, Cr, Hg, Ni, and Zn. The resin performed poorly against Se in the raw FGD wastewater and showed moderate to good removal of several trace elements such as Cd, Cr, Hg, and Zn. In FGD effluent, sulfate was identified as a powerful competing anion for Se, having high affinity for the exchange active sites of the resin. The desulfurization of the FGD effluent using BaCl led to the increase in Se removal from 3% (non-desulfurized effluent) to 80% (desulfurized effluent) by combined precipitation and ion exchange treatment. However, complete desulfurization using equimolar BaCl could not be achieved due to the presence of bicarbonate that acts as a sulfate competitor for barium. In addition to selenium and sulfate removal, several toxic metals were efficiently removed (Cd: 91%; Cr: 100%; Zn: 99%) by the combined (desulfurization and ion exchange) treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.12.132DOI Listing
April 2017

Progress toward clonable inorganic nanoparticles.

Nanoscale 2015 Nov;7(41):17320-7

Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.

Pseudomonas moraviensis stanleyae was recently isolated from the roots of the selenium (Se) hyperaccumulator plant Stanleya pinnata. This bacterium tolerates normally lethal concentrations of SeO3(2-) in liquid culture, where it also produces Se nanoparticles. Structure and cellular ultrastructure of the Se nanoparticles as determined by cellular electron tomography shows the nanoparticles as intracellular, of narrow dispersity, symmetrically irregular and without any observable membrane or structured protein shell. Protein mass spectrometry of a fractionated soluble cytosolic material with selenite reducing capability identified nitrite reductase and glutathione reductase homologues as NADPH dependent candidate enzymes for the reduction of selenite to zerovalent Se nanoparticles. In vitro experiments with commercially sourced glutathione reductase revealed that the enzyme can reduce SeO3(2-) (selenite) to Se nanoparticles in an NADPH-dependent process. The disappearance of the enzyme as determined by protein assay during nanoparticle formation suggests that glutathione reductase is associated with or possibly entombed in the nanoparticles whose formation it catalyzes. Chemically dissolving the nanoparticles releases the enzyme. The size of the nanoparticles varies with SeO3(2-) concentration, varying in size form 5 nm diameter when formed at 1.0 μM [SeO3(2-)] to 50 nm maximum diameter when formed at 100 μM [SeO3(2-)]. In aggregate, we suggest that glutathione reductase possesses the key attributes of a clonable nanoparticle system: ion reduction, nanoparticle retention and size control of the nanoparticle at the enzyme site.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c5nr04097cDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4785824PMC
November 2015

Selenium hyperaccumulators harbor a diverse endophytic bacterial community characterized by high selenium resistance and plant growth promoting properties.

Front Plant Sci 2015 2;6:113. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

Biology Department, Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO, USA.

Selenium (Se)-rich plants may be used to provide dietary Se to humans and livestock, and also to clean up Se-polluted soils or waters. This study focused on endophytic bacteria of plants that hyperaccumulate selenium (Se) to 0.5-1% of dry weight. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis was used to compare the diversity of endophytic bacteria of hyperaccumulators Stanleya pinnata (Brassicaceae) and Astragalus bisulcatus (Fabaceae) with those from related non-accumulators Physaria bellii (Brassicaceae) and Medicago sativa (Fabaceae) collected on the same, seleniferous site. Hyperaccumulators and non-accumulators showed equal T-RF diversity. Parsimony analysis showed that T-RFs from individuals of the same species were more similar to each other than to those from other species, regardless of plant Se content or spatial proximity. Cultivable endophytes from hyperaccumulators S. pinnata and A. bisulcatus were further identified and characterized. The 66 bacterial morphotypes were shown by MS MALDI-TOF Biotyper analysis and 16S rRNA gene sequencing to include strains of Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Pantoea, Staphylococcus, Paenibacillus, Advenella, Arthrobacter, and Variovorax. Most isolates were highly resistant to selenate and selenite (up to 200 mM) and all could reduce selenite to red elemental Se, reduce nitrite and produce siderophores. Seven isolates were selected for plant inoculation and found to have plant growth promoting properties, both in pure culture and when co-cultivated with crop species Brassica juncea (Brassicaceae) or M. sativa. There were no effects on plant Se accumulation. We conclude that Se hyperaccumulators harbor an endophytic bacterial community in their natural seleniferous habitat that is equally diverse to that of comparable non-accumulators. The hyperaccumulator endophytes are characterized by high Se resistance, capacity to produce elemental Se and plant growth promoting properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2015.00113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345804PMC
March 2015

Removal of colloidal biogenic selenium from wastewater.

Chemosphere 2015 Apr 3;125:130-8. Epub 2015 Jan 3.

UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, PO Box␣3015, 2601 DA Delft, The Netherlands.

Biogenic selenium, Se(0), has colloidal properties and thus poses solid-liquid separation problems, such as poor settling and membrane fouling. The separation of Se(0) from the bulk liquid was assessed by centrifugation, filtration, and coagulation-flocculation. Se(0) particles produced by an anaerobic granular sludge are normally distributed, ranging from 50 nm to 250 nm, with an average size of 166±29 nm and a polydispersity index of 0.18. Due to its nanosize range and protein coating-associated negative zeta potential (-15 mV to -23 mV) between pH 2 and 12, biogenic Se(0) exhibits colloidal properties, hampering its removal from suspension. Centrifugation at different centrifugal speeds achieved 22±3% (1500 rpm), 73±2% (3000 rpm) and 91±2% (4500 rpm) removal. Separation by filtration through 0.45 μm filters resulted in 87±1% Se(0) removal. Ferric chloride and aluminum sulfate were used as coagulants in coagulation-flocculation experiments. Aluminum sulfate achieved the highest turbidity removal (92±2%) at a dose of 10(-3) M, whereas ferric chloride achieved a maximum turbidity removal efficiency of only 43±4% at 2.7×10(-4) M. Charge repression plays a minor role in particle neutralization. The sediment volume resulting from Al2(SO3)4 treatment is three times larger than that produced by FeCl3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.12.018DOI Listing
April 2015

Electrocoagulation of colloidal biogenic selenium.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2015 Feb 20;22(4):3127-37. Epub 2014 Sep 20.

Department of Environmental Engineering and Water Technology, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, 2601 DA, Delft, The Netherlands.

Colloidal elemental selenium (Se(0)) adversely affects membrane separation processes and aquatic ecosystems. As a solution to this problem, we investigated for the first time the removal potential of Se(0) by electrocoagulation process. Colloidal Se(0) was produced by a strain of Pseudomonas fluorescens and showed limited gravitational settling. Therefore, iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) sacrificial electrodes were used in a batch reactor under galvanostatic conditions. The best Se(0) turbidity removal (97 %) was achieved using iron electrodes at 200 mA. Aluminum electrodes removed 96 % of colloidal Se(0) only at a higher current intensity (300 mA). At the best Se(0) removal efficiency, electrocoagulation using Fe electrode removed 93 % of the Se concentration, whereas with Al electrodes the Se removal efficiency reached only 54 %. Due to the less compact nature of the Al flocs, the Se-Al sediment was three times more voluminous than the Se-Fe sediment. The toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) test showed that the Fe-Se sediment released Se below the regulatory level (1 mg L(-1)), whereas the Se concentration leached from the Al-Se sediment exceeded the limit by about 20 times. This might be related to the mineralogical nature of the sediments. Electron scanning micrographs showed Fe-Se sediments with a reticular structure, whereas the Al-Se sediments lacked an organized structure. Overall, the results obtained showed that the use of Fe electrodes as soluble anode in electrocoagulation constitutes a better option than Al electrodes for the electrochemical sedimentation of colloidal Se(0).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-014-3592-2DOI Listing
February 2015

Sensitive, selective analysis of selenium oxoanions using microchip electrophoresis with contact conductivity detection.

Anal Chem 2014 Aug 29;86(16):8425-32. Epub 2014 Jul 29.

Chemistry Department, Colorado State University , Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, United States.

The common selenium oxoanions selenite (SeO3(2-)) and selenate (SeO4(2-)) are toxic at intake levels slightly below 1 mg day(-1). These anions are currently monitored by a variety of traditional analytical techniques that are time-consuming, expensive, require large sample volumes, and/or lack portability. To address the need for a fast and inexpensive analysis of selenium oxoanions, we present the first microchip capillary zone electrophoresis (MCE) separation targeting these species in the presence of chloride, sulfate, nitrate, nitrite, chlorate, sulfamate, methanesulfonate, and fluoride, which can be simultaneously monitored. The chemistry was designed to give high selectivity in nonideal matrices. Interference from common weak acids is avoided by operating near pH 4. Separation resolution from chloride was enhanced to improve tolerance of high-salinity matrices. As a result, selenate can be quantified in the presence of up to 1.5 mM NaCl, and selenite analysis is even more robust against chloride. Using contact conductivity detection, detection limits for samples with conductivity equal to the background electrolyte are 53 nM (4.2 ppb Se) and 380 nM (30 ppb) for selenate and selenite, respectively. Analysis time, including injection, is ∼2 min. The MCE method was validated against ion chromatography (IC) using spiked samples of dilute BBL broth and slightly outperformed the IC in accuracy while requiring <10% of the analysis time. The applicability of the technique to real samples was shown by monitoring the consumption of selenite by bacteria incubated in LB broth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac502013kDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4139182PMC
August 2014
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