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Annu Rev Microbiol. 1993;47:263-90.

Dissimilatory metal reduction.

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US Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia 22092.


Microorganisms can enzymatically reduce a variety of metals in metabolic processes that are not related to metal assimilation. Some microorganisms can conserve energy to support growth by coupling the oxidation of simple organic acids and alcohols, H2, or aromatic compounds to the reduction of Fe(III) or Mn(IV). This dissimilatory Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction influences the organic as well as the inorganic geochemistry of anaerobic aquatic sediments and ground water. Microorganisms that use U(VI) as a terminal electron acceptor play an important role in uranium geochemistry and may be a useful tool for removing uranium from contaminated environments. Se(VI) serves as a terminal electron acceptor to support anaerobic growth of some microorganisms. Reduction of Se(VI) to Se(O) is an important mechanism for the precipitation of selenium from contaminated waters. Enzymatic reduction of Cr(VI) to the less mobile and less toxic Cr(III), and reduction of soluble Hg(II) to volatile Hg(O) may affect the fate of these compounds in the environment and might be used as a remediation strategy. Microorganisms can also enzymatically reduce other metals such as technetium, vanadium, molybdenum, gold, silver, and copper, but reduction of these metals has not been studied extensively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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