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Particle size matters to bacteria ability to immobilize heavy metals

tate, they absorb the metals. When they dissolve, they release the metals. We see that larger particles are more quickly reduced and dissolved than smaller particles."

The researchers have determined that for respiration the bacteria prefer larger nanoparticles ?about 100 nanometers ?to smaller nanoparticles (less than 20nm) of similar shape. The reasons are still under investigation.

Nanoparticles have properties that differ from larger chunks of the same material. Physicists and chemists have been trying to describe the changes in physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles for some time but little work has been done to describe the effect of nanoparticles on natural environments where they interact with microorganisms. This effort by the Virginia Tech team is addressing one component of a wider effort by various scientists led by a PNNL team in looking at the fundamental mechanisms of metal reduction by Shewanella and its application in environmental bioremediation of contaminated DOE sites. "It will help build a whole picture of Shewanella ?how it reacts with metal oxides and how the rate of this interaction is influenced by size" Bose said.

So far, the research shows that particles of similar shape but different size down to 10 nm show a 10-fold difference in bioreduction rates. Smaller nanoparticles show a lower rate of reduction than larger nanoparticles after normalized to surface area. That is, the bacteria will reduce 100 nm particles much faster than smaller particles. "This study provides the groundwork for further investigations looking into the influence of particle size in bioreduction rates of various metal oxides ," Bose said.

The talk, "Bioreduction kinetics of hematite nanoparticles by Shewanella oneidensisMR-1: Effect of size and mineralogy (GEOC 119)," will be presented at 3 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 262 Moscone Convention Center. Authors are Bose and Hochella of the NanoGeoscience and Technology La
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Source:Virginia Tech


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