Thermus aquaticus and Thermus thermophilus, common inhabitants of terrestrial hot springs and thermally polluted domestic and industrial waters, have been found to rapidly oxidize arsenite to arsenate. Field investigations at a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park revealed conserved total arsenic transport and rapid arsenite oxidation occurring within the drainage channel. This environment was heavily colonized by Thermus aquaticus. In laboratory experiments, arsenite oxidation by cultures of Thermus aquaticus YT1 (previously isolated from Yellowstone National Park) and Thermus thermophilus HB8 was accelerated by a factor of over 100 relative to abiotic controls. Thermus aquaticus and Thermus thermophilus may therefore play a large and previously unrecognized role in determining arsenic speciation and bioavailability in thermal environments.
Additional publication details
Rapid arsenite oxidation by Thermus aquaticus and Thermus thermophilus: Field and laboratory investigations