Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 767–773 | Cite as

Cr(III) oxidation coupled with Mn(II) bacterial oxidation in the environment

  • Ji-Zheng He
  • You-Ting Meng
  • Yuan-Ming Zheng
  • Li-Mei Zhang



Cr(III) oxidation to Cr(VI) significantly increases Cr mobility and toxicity and thus its environmental risks. Manganese (Mn) oxides may serve as the potential oxidants of Cr(III) in environment. Natural Mn oxides in the environment are believed to be derived from bacterial oxidation. The objective of this study was to examine the Cr(III) oxidation capacity of biogenic Mn oxide and the role of Mn-oxidizing bacteria in Cr(III) oxidation.

Materials and methods

Batch experiments were conducted to investigate the capacities of Cr(III) oxidation by chemically synthetic Mn oxides and biogenic Mn oxide. Biogenic Mn oxide was formed by Bacillus sp. WH4, a Mn-oxidizing bacterium isolated from Fe–Mn nodules of a Chinese soil. Various Cr(III) and Mn(II) were added to the growth medium of Bacillus sp. WH4 to evaluate Cr(III) oxidation coupled with Mn(II) bacterial oxidation.


The Cr(III) oxidation capacity of biogenic Mn oxide was 0.24 mmol g−1 and higher than three chemically synthetic Mn oxides. No Mn(III) intermediate was detected during Mn(II) bacterial oxidation. Bacillus sp. WH4 could promote Cr(III) oxidation through oxidizing Mn(II), although it could not oxidize Cr(III) directly.


The participation of Mn-oxidizing bacteria makes Cr(III) oxidation more complicated in environment. These findings illustrate the need to consider bacterial activity and the Mn(II) level when predicting the fate of Cr and the potential applications of Mn oxides in the remediation of pollutants in environment.


Biogenic Mn oxide Chromium Mn(III) intermediate Mn-oxidizing bacteria Oxidation 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2005CB121104), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX1-YW-06-03), and the Natural Science Foundation of China (40671172).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji-Zheng He
    • 1
  • You-Ting Meng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuan-Ming Zheng
    • 1
  • Li-Mei Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Graduate SchoolChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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