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Environ Sci Technol. 2001 Jul 15;35(14):2942-8.

Siderophore mediated plutonium accumulation by Microbacterium flavescens (JG-9).

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Chemistry Division, C-SIC, Bioscience Division, B-N1, and Theoretical Division, T-10, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA.


Uptake of plutonium and uranium mediated by the siderophore desferrioxamine-B (DFOB) has been studied for the common soil aerobe Microbacterium flavescens(JG-9). M. flavescens does not bind or take up nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) complexes of U(VI), Fe(III), or Pu(IV) or U(VI)-DFOB but does take up Fe(III)-DFOB and Pu(IV)-DFOB. Pu(IV)-DFOB and Fe(III)-DFOB accumulations are similar: only living and metabolically active bacteria take up these metal-siderophore complexes. The Fe(III)-DFOB and Pu(IV)-DFOB complexes mutually inhibit uptake of the other, indicating that they compete for shared binding sites or uptake proteins. However, Pu uptake is much slower than Fe uptake, and cumulative Pu uptake is less than Fe, 1.0 nmol of Fe vs 0.25 nmol of Pu per mg of dry weight bacteria. The Pu(IV)-DFOB interactions with M. flavescens suggest that Pu-siderophore complexes could generally be recognized by Fe-siderophore uptake systems of many bacteria, fungi, or plants, thereby affecting Pu environmental mobility and distribution. The results also suggest that the siderophore complexes of tetravalent metals can be recognized by Fe-siderophore uptake proteins.

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