An ultrastructural study of iron and manganese deposition associated with extracellular polymers of pedomicrobium-like budding bacteria
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Morphological characteristics of two Pedomicrobium-like budding bacteria are described. A structured surface layer was regularly observed on strain 868. Ruthenium red- and Alcian blue-staining polymers were found on both strains.
When either strain was grown in the presence of iron or manganese, the corresponding oxides accumulated on their surfaces. In thin sections iron oxides appeared as fine threads, arrays of particles or dense coatings, depending on the source of iron. Manganese oxides appeared as branching filaments or convoluted ribbons. Both metal oxides stained with ruthenium red. Extraction of the oxides followed by ruthenium red staining revealed that polyanionic polymers previously deposited on the cells were associated with the metals.
Treatment of cultures with glutaraldehyde, HgCl2, or heat, inhibited manganese but not iron deposition, suggesting that iron oxides accumulated by passive, non-biological processes. Manganese oxides apparently accumulated under control of a biological manganese-oxidizing factor. Incomplete inhibition of manganese deposition observed in cell suspensions suggested that, if the oxidizing factor was an enzyme, it was unusually stable.
Based on these results, possible mechanisms of iron and manganese deposition in association with extracellular polymers are suggested.
Key wordsPedomicrobium Budding bacteria Iron deposition Manganese deposition Polymer Fine structure
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