Manganese oxides are the only known oxidants of Cr(III) in the environment, and predictions of the fate of Cr(III) have been based on Cr(III) oxidation rates with well-characterized Mn(III,IV) oxide minerals. Our research, however, indicates that the presence of Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria may accelerate these rates through the production of very reactive Mn oxides or intermediates formed in the oxidation process. Experiments with the Mn(II)-oxidizing Bacillus sp. strain SG-1 show that this bacterium can accelerate Cr(III) oxidation compared to both abiotic and biologically produced Mn oxides. Initial rates of Cr(III) oxidation by biogenic oxides were approximately 7 times faster than Cr(III) oxidation rates by equivalent amounts of synthetic δ-MnO2 and 25 times faster by SG-1 spores with Mn(II). Cr(III) oxidation by SG-1 is not direct; Mn is required, but only in small amounts, indicating that it is recycled. Cr(III) oxidation is inhibited above 5 μM dissolved Mn(II), while Mn(II) oxidation is not, suggesting that the processes are controlled by different mechanisms. These results illustrate the need to consider bacterial activity and the concentration of Mn when predicting the potential for Cr(III) oxidation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry