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Bioremediation potential of hexavalent chromium-resistant Arthrobacter globiformis 151B: study of the uptake of cesium and other alkali ions


Cesium (Cs+) enters environments largely because of global release into the environment from weapons testing and accidents such as Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl nuclear waste. Even at low concentrations, Cs+ is highly toxic to ecological receptors because of its physicochemical similarity to macronutrient potassium (K+). We investigated the uptake and accumulation of Cs+ by Arthrobacter globiformis strain 151B in reference to three similar alkali metal cations rubidium (Rb+), sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+). The impact of hexavalent chromium (Cr+6) as a co-contaminant was also evaluated. A. globiformis 151B accumulated Cs+ and Cr6+ in a time-dependent fashion. In contrast, the uptake and accumulation of Rb+ did not exhibit any trends. An exposure to Cs+, Rb+, and Cr+6 triggered a drastic increase in K+ and Na+ uptake by the bacterial cells. That was followed by the efflux of K+ and Na+, suggesting a Cs+ “substitution.” Two-dimensional gel-electrophoresis of bacterial cell proteomes with the following mass-spectrometry of differentially expressed bands revealed that incubation of bacterial cells with Cs+ induced changes in the expression of proteins involved in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and reactive oxygen species removal. The ability of A. globiformis 151B to mediate the uptake and accumulation of cesium and hexavalent chromium suggests that it possesses wide-range bioremediation potential.

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We acknowledge Dr. Aleksandre Rcheulishvili for helping to perform the spectral analyses.


Author Olia Rcheulishvili has received research support from Volkswagen Foundation, within the framework of the joint project “Structured Education- Quality Assurance- Freedom to Think”—#04/46 between Georg-August-University of Gottingen and Ilia State University. Other authors declare that no funds, grants, or other support were received during the preparation of this manuscript.

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Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by Olia Rcheulishvili. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Olia Rcheulishvili and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the study conception and design. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Olia Rcheulishvili.

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This work is dedicated to my (Olia Rcheulishvili) late supervisor and dear person Dr. Nelly Tsibakhashvili.

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Rcheulishvili, O., Metreveli, N., Solomonia, R. et al. Bioremediation potential of hexavalent chromium-resistant Arthrobacter globiformis 151B: study of the uptake of cesium and other alkali ions. Int Microbiol 25, 745–758 (2022).

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