Bridging spatially segregated redox zones with a microbial electrochemical snorkel triggers biogeochemical cycles in oil-contaminated River Tyne (UK) sediments

Viggi, Carolina Cruz, Matturro, Bruna, Frascadore, Emanuela, Insogna, Susanna, Mezzi, Alessio, Kaciulis, Saulius, Sherry, Angela, Mejeha, Obioma K., Head, Ian M., Vaiopoulou, Eleni, Rabaey, Korneel, Rossetti, Simona and Aulenta, Federico (2017) Bridging spatially segregated redox zones with a microbial electrochemical snorkel triggers biogeochemical cycles in oil-contaminated River Tyne (UK) sediments. Water Research, 127. pp. 11-21. ISSN 0043-1354

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BridgingSpatiallySegregatedRedoxZoneswithaMicrobialElectrochemicalSnorkelTriggersBiogeochemicalCyclesinOilContaminatedRiverTyneUKSedimentsAuthorAcceptedVersion.pdf - Accepted Version
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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2017.10.002

Abstract

Marine sediments represent an important sink for a number of anthropogenic organic contaminants, including petroleum hydrocarbons following an accidental oil spill. Degradation of these compounds largely depends on the activity of sedimentary microbial communities linked to biogeochemical cycles, in which abundant elements such as iron and sulfur are shuttled between their oxidized and reduced forms. Here we show that introduction of a small electrically conductive graphite rod (“the electrochemical snorkel”) into an oil-contaminated River Tyne (UK) sediment, so as to create an electrochemical connection between the anoxic contaminated sediment and the oxygenated overlying water, has a large impact on the rate of metabolic reactions taking place in the bulk sediment. The electrochemical snorkel accelerated sulfate reduction processes driven by organic contaminant oxidation and suppressed competitive methane-producing reactions. The application of a comprehensive suite of chemical, spectroscopic, biomolecular and thermodynamic analyses suggested that the snorkel served as a scavenger of toxic sulfide via a redox interaction with the iron cycle. Taken as a whole, the results of this work highlight a new strategy for controlling biological processes, such as bioremediation, through the manipulation of the electron flows in contaminated sediments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Contaminated sedimentsm, Iron cycle, Electrochemical snorkel, Oil spill remediation, Petroleum hydrocarbons, Sulfate reduction, Sulfide scavenging, Sulfur cycle
Subjects: C700 Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry
F100 Chemistry
F700 Ocean Sciences
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2020 15:48
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2020 15:48
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/42176

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