The ecology of arsenic

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Arsenic is a metalloid whose name conjures up images of murder. Nonetheless, certain prokaryotes use arsenic oxyanions for energy generation, either by oxidizing arsenite or by respiring arsenate. These microbes are phylogenetically diverse and occur in a wide range of habitats. Arsenic cycling may take place in the absence of oxygen and can contribute to organic matter oxidation. In aquifers, these microbial reactions may mobilize arsenic from the solid to the aqueous phase, resulting in contaminated drinking water. Here we review what is known about arsenic-metabolizing bacteria and their potential impact on speciation and mobilization of arsenic in nature.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The ecology of arsenic
Series title Science
DOI 10.1126/science.1081903
Volume 300
Issue 5621
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 6 p.
First page 939
Last page 944
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