Toward bioremediation of methylmercury using silica encapsulated Escherichia coli harboring the mer operon

Aunica L. Kane, Basem Al-Shayeb, Patrick V. Holec, Srijay Rajan, Nicholas E. Le Mieux, Stephen C. Heinsch, Sona Psarska, Kelly G. Aukema, Casim A. Sarkar, Edward A. Nater, Jeffrey A. Gralnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal and the ability of the neurotoxin methylmercury to biomagnify in the food chain is a serious concern for both public and environmental health globally. Because thousands of tons of mercury are released into the environment each year, remediation strategies are urgently needed and prompted this study. To facilitate remediation of both organic and inorganic forms of mercury, Escherichia coli was engineered to harbor a subset of genes (merRTPAB) from the mercury resistance operon. Protein products of the mer operon enable transport of mercury into the cell, cleavage of organic C-Hg bonds, and subsequent reduction of ionic mercury to the less toxic elemental form, Hg(0). E. coli containing merRTPAB was then encapsulated in silica beads resulting in a biological-based filtration material. Performing encapsulation in aerated mineral oil yielded silica beads that were smooth, spherical, and similar in diameter. Following encapsulation, E. coli containing merRTPAB retained the ability to degrade methylmercury and performed similarly to nonencapsulated cells. Due to the versatility of both the engineered mercury resistant strain and silica bead technology, this study provides a strong foundation for use of the resulting biological-based filtration material for methylmercury remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0147036
JournalPloS one
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Fingerprint

methylmercury compounds
Environmental Biodegradation
Bioremediation
bioremediation
operon
Operon
Mercury
mercury
Silicon Dioxide
silica
Escherichia coli
remediation
Remediation
Poisons
encapsulation
Encapsulation
cell cleavage
Mineral Oil
Food Chain
mineral oil

Cite this

Toward bioremediation of methylmercury using silica encapsulated Escherichia coli harboring the mer operon. / Kane, Aunica L.; Al-Shayeb, Basem; Holec, Patrick V.; Rajan, Srijay; Le Mieux, Nicholas E.; Heinsch, Stephen C.; Psarska, Sona; Aukema, Kelly G.; Sarkar, Casim A.; Nater, Edward A.; Gralnick, Jeffrey A.

In: PloS one, Vol. 11, No. 1, 0147036, 01.01.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kane, Aunica L. ; Al-Shayeb, Basem ; Holec, Patrick V. ; Rajan, Srijay ; Le Mieux, Nicholas E. ; Heinsch, Stephen C. ; Psarska, Sona ; Aukema, Kelly G. ; Sarkar, Casim A. ; Nater, Edward A. ; Gralnick, Jeffrey A. / Toward bioremediation of methylmercury using silica encapsulated Escherichia coli harboring the mer operon. In: PloS one. 2016 ; Vol. 11, No. 1.
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