Interactions of core-shell quantum dots with metal resistant bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans: Consequences for Cu and Pb removal
In the present study we address the interactions of carboxyl-CdSe/ZnS core/shell quantum dots (QDs), as a model of water dispersible engineered nanoparticles, and metal resistant bacteria Cupriavidus metallidurans, largely used in metal decontamination. The results demonstrate that QDs with average hydrodynamic size of 12.9 nm adhere to C. metallidurans. The percentage of bacterial cells displaying QD-fluorescence increased proportionally with contact time and QD concentration in bacterial medium demonstrating the association of QDs with the metal resistant bacteria. No evidence of QD internalization into bacterial cytoplasm was found by transmission electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry, however QD clusters of sizes between 20 and 50 nm were observed on the bacterial surface and in the bacterial periplasmic compartment; observations consistent with the losses of membrane integrity induced by QDs. The presence of 20 nM QDs induced about 2-fold increase in Cu and Pb uptake fluxes by C metallidurans exposed to 500 nM Pb or Cu, respectively. Overall, the results of this work suggest that when present in mixture with Cu and Pb, low levels of QDs originating from possible incidental release or QD disposal could increase metal accumulation in metal resistant bacterium. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.