Monitoring the activity of target microorganisms during stimulated bioremediation is a key problem for the development of effective remediation strategies. At the US Department of Energy's Integrated Field Research Challenge (IFRC) site in Rifle, CO, the stimulation of Geobacter growth and activity via subsurface acetate addition leads to precipitation of U(VI) from groundwater as U(IV). Citrate synthase (gltA) is a key enzyme in Geobacter central metabolism that controls flux into the TCA cycle. Here, we utilize shotgun proteomic methods to demonstrate that the measurement of gltA peptides can be used to track Geobacter activity and strain evolution during in situ biostimulation. Abundances of conserved gltA peptides tracked Fe(III) reduction and changes in U(VI) concentrations during biostimulation, whereas changing patterns of unique peptide abundances between samples suggested sample-specific strain shifts within the Geobacter population. Abundances of unique peptides indicated potential differences at the strain level between Fe(III)-reducing populations stimulated during in situ biostimulation experiments conducted a year apart at the Rifle IFRC. These results offer a novel technique for the rapid screening of large numbers of proteomic samples for Geobacter species and will aid monitoring of subsurface bioremediation efforts that rely on metal reduction for desired outcomes.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/derek_lovley/19/