Engineered stimulation of Fe(III) has been proposed as a strategy to enhance the immobilization of radioactive and toxic metals in metal-contaminated subsurface environments. Therefore, laboratory and field studies were conducted to determine which microbial populations would respond to stimulation of Fe(III) reduction in the sediments of sandy aquifers. In laboratory studies, the addition of either various organic electron donors or electron shuttle compounds stimulated Fe(III) reduction and resulted in Geobacter sequences becoming important constituents of the Bacterial 16S rDNA sequences that could be detected with PCR amplification and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Quantification of Geobacteraceae sequences with a PCR most-probable-number technique indicated that the extent to which numbers of Geobacter increased was related to the degree of stimulation of Fe(III) reduction. Geothrix species were also enriched in some instances, but were orders of magnitude less numerous than Geobacter species. Shewanella species were not detected, even when organic compounds known to be electron donors for Shewanella species were used to stimulate Fe(III) reduction in the sediments. Geobacter species were also enriched in two field experiments in which Fe(III) reduction was stimulated with the addition of benzoate or aromatic hydrocarbons. The apparent growth of Geobacter species concurrent with increased Fe(III) reduction suggests that Geobacter species were responsible for much of the Fe(III) reduction in all of the stimulation approaches evaluated in three geographically distinct aquifers. Therefore, strategies for subsurface remediation that involve enhancing the activity of indigenous Fe(III)-reducing populations in aquifers should consider the physiological properties of Geobacter species in their treatment design.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/derek_lovley/240/