Bioaccumulation of silver by a multispecies community of bacteria


A stable community of bacteria that had unusually high tolerance of soluble silver was isolated from soil by chemostat enrichment. The community consisted of three bacteria: Pseudomonas maltophilia, Staphylococcus aureus and a coryneform organism. The pseudomonas was primarly responsible for the silver resistance. The tolerance of high silver concentrations, up to 100 mM Ag+, was greatly reduced when the community was grown in the absence of silver. Pseudomonas maltophilia comprised approximately 50% by numbers of the community when grown in chemostats in the presence or absence of Ag+ but large fluctuations occurred in population sizes of the other two bacteria; the S. aureus population was small (less than 1%) in the presence of Ag+ but comparised a third of the total numbers when Ag+ was omitted from the medium. Silver-resistant respiration of the silveradapted community was significant even when it was confronted with high concentrations of Ag+. In contrast the respiration of the coryneform organism and particularly S. aureus was highly sensitive to silver. The inhibition constants for silver-sensitive respiration were 0.78 mM and 0.04 mM for silver acclimatized and nonacclimatized communities respectively. The community had great capacity for silver bioaccumulation. Maximum concentrations of over 300 mg silver per g dry weight of biomass were recorded at an accumulation rate of 21 mg Ag+ h-1 (g biomass)-1. The extent of silver removal from solution was a function of initial concentration of silver; at low external concentrations (ca. 1 mM) all the silver was rapidly removed from solution, at high concentrations (ca. 12 mM) 84% removal occurred in 15 h.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00406656

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@article{Charley1979BioaccumulationOS, title={Bioaccumulation of silver by a multispecies community of bacteria}, author={Robert C. Charley and Alan T. Bull}, journal={Archives of Microbiology}, year={1979}, volume={123}, pages={239-244} }