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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jan 11;54(1):152-6.

Removal of selenate in river and drainage waters by Citrobacter braakii enhanced with zero-valent iron.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Sciences, 2217 Geology Building, University of California, Riverside, California 92521-0424, USA.


A cost-effective remediation method is needed to remove selenium (Se) from Se-contaminated water. In this study, a selenate [Se(VI)]-reducing bacterium, Citrobacter braakii, that is capable of using molasses as a carbon source to reduce Se(VI) from natural river and drainage waters was isolated. During an 8-day experiment, 87-97% of the added Se(VI) in New River water and White River water, California, was reduced to elemental Se [Se(0)] or transformed to organic Se. In highly saline drainage water, removal of Se(VI) by C. braakii was limited, with 20% Se(VI) removal in a 7-day experiment. Addition of zero-valent iron (ZVI) into these waters along with C. braakii inoculation significantly enhanced the removal of Se(VI) and reduced the formation of organic Se. This study suggests that the combination of a bacterial treatment using inexpensive molasses and ZVI can effectively remove Se from natural river water and agricultural drainage waters.

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