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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1998 Mar;64(3):1123-9.

Surface Charge Properties of and Cu(II) Adsorption by Spores of the Marine Bacillus sp. Strain SG-1.

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  • 1Marine Biology Research Division and Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202.


Spores of marine Bacillus sp. strain SG-1 are capable of oxidizing Mn(II) and Co(II), which results in the precipitation of Mn(III, IV) and Co(III) oxides and hydroxides on the spore surface. The spores also bind other heavy metals; however, little is known about the mechanism and capacity of this metal binding. In this study the characteristics of the spore surface and Cu(II) adsorption to this surface were investigated. The specific surface area of wet SG-1 spores was 74.7 m per g of dry weight as measured by the methylene blue adsorption method. This surface area is 11-fold greater than the surface area of dried spores, as determined with an N(2) adsorption surface area analyzer or as calculated from the spore dimensions, suggesting that the spore surface is porous. The surface exchange capacity as measured by the proton exchange method was found to be 30.6 mumol m, which is equal to a surface site density of 18.3 sites nm. The SG-1 spore surface charge characteristics were obtained from acid-base titration data. The surface charge density varied with pH, and the zero point of charge was pH 4.5. The titration curves suggest that the spore surface is dominated by negatively charged sites that are largely carboxylate groups but also phosphate groups. Copper adsorption by SG-1 spores was rapid and complete within minutes. The spores exhibited a high affinity for Cu(II). The amounts of copper adsorbed increased from negligible at pH 3 to maximum levels at pH >6. Their great surface area, site density, and affinity give SG-1 spores a high capability for binding metals on their surfaces, as demonstrated by our experiments with Cu(II).

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