Oxidation of arsenite by Agrobacterium albertimagni, AOL15, sp. nov., isolated from Hot Creek, California
An arsenite-oxidizing bacterium, Agrobacterium albertimagni strain AOL15 (ATCC BAA-24), was isolated from the surface of aquatic macrophytes collected in Hot Creek, California. Under laboratory conditions, whole cell suspensions of AOL15 oxidized arsenite with a Ks of 3.4 ± 2.2 μM and a Vmax of 1.81 ± 0.58 × 10-12 μmole · cell-1 · min-1 (or 0.043 ± 0.017 μmole · mg protein-1 · min-1). The Ks value for AOL15 is the lowest value to date reported for whole cell suspensions and is comparable to ambient concentrations of arsenic of 2.7 μM reported for Hot Creek, indicating that AOL15 can oxidize arsenite under ambient conditions. Previous studies at this site revealed a rapid in situ oxidation of geothermally-derived arsenite while field incubation studies demonstrated that this oxidation was bacterially mediated. The isolation of the arsenite oxidizer AOL15 from this environment supports these previous observations. Arsenite does not support chemolithoautotrophic growth of AOL15 and toxicity studies with AOL15 showed that arsenite (at 5 mM) is toxic to AOL15, yet arsenate concentrations as high as 50 mM do not show any toxic effects. These results suggest that the oxidation of arsenite by AOL15 is a detoxification mechanism.