Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center

Aqueous Geochemistry Research and Development

Biocatalysis Studies

The Biocatalysis Studies Topic investigates the role of microbes (primarily bacteria) in the geochemical cycles of arsenic, mercury, iron, lead, and zinc. The central theme of this topic is to determine the impact of microbes on the aqueous geochemistry of elements of environmental interest, namely As, Hg, Fe, Pb, and Zn. The task will examine 1) microbial controls on arsenic redox geochemistry, speciation, and mobility, 2) factors that control the rates and pathways of microbial methylmercury [MeHg] production, and 3) the interaction of iron- and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria with the surfaces of Zn- and Pb-bearing ore sulfides and secondary Fe-oxides. The work will be accomplished by employing the lab experiments and field applications described below. The data obtained from these research studies will enhance our ability to predict [model] the mobility of As, Hg, Fe, Pb, and Zn in environments where microbial populations or consortia are present to act as biocatalytic agents.

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Mineral Resources Program
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