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Trends Ecol Evol. 1993 Jun;8(6):213-7. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(93)90102-U.

Anaerobes into heavy metal: Dissimilatory metal reduction in anoxic environments.

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US Geological Survey, 430 National Center, Reston, VA 22092, USA.


Within the last decade, a novel form of microbial metabolism of major environmental significance has been elucidated. In this process, known as dissimilatory metal reduction, specialized microorganisms, living in anoxic aquatic sediments and ground water, oxidize organic compounds to carbon dioxide with metals serving as the oxidant. Recent studies have demonstrated that this metabolism explains a number of important geochemical phenomena in ancient and modern sedimentary environments, affecting not only the cycling of metals but also the fate of organic matter. Furthermore, this metabolism may have practical application in remediation of environments contaminated with toxic metals and/or organics.

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