Montana State University

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Research Projects

Bioremediation of Chlorinated Organics and Heavy Metals by Desulfitobacterium

Desulfitobacteria are Gram-positive, spore-forming, nitrogen fixing anaerobes with the ability to reduce many electron acceptors includint Fe(III), U(VI), Cr(VI), As(V), Mn(IV), Se(VI), NO3-, CO2, sulfite, fumarate, and humates. Furthermore, Desulfitobacteria also reductively dechlorinate aromatic and aliphatic pollutants. Importantly, most of the metals and the organochlorine reductions are coupled to ATP production and support growth providing for the organism\'s natural selection at DOE contaminant sites. The main goals of this project are 1) to gain insight into the genetic and metabolic pathways involved in dissimilatory metal reduction and reductive dechlorination, 2) to discern the commonalities among these electron-accepting processes, 3) to identify multi-protein complexes catalyzing these functions, and 4) to elucidate the coordination in expression fo these pathways and processes.

Joan Broderick

Biochemistry, Bioinorganic, Biophysical, Inorganic