Immobilization of free ionic gold and L-asparagine-complexed ionic gold by Sporosarcina ureae: The importance of organo-gold complexes in gold mobility

Southam, G. ; Beveridge, T. J. ; Fyfe, W. S.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Sporosarcina ureae was able to grow in the presence of tip to 10-ppm L-asparagine complexed gold. However, 10 ppm Au3+ was found to be highly toxic to Sporosarcina ureae, killing 109 bacteria/mL within a few seconds. To compare the effects of these responses on gold mobility, an in vitro bacterial biofilm model was developed to examine the interaction be¬tween Sporosarcina ureae and ionic gold or L-asparagine gold complexes in gravity fed columns. The immobilization of ionic gold was between 80% and 90% over a period of one week. But, as the available cellular reactive sites became saturated, immobilization decreased to 14% within two weeks. In the L¬asparagine-gold system, gold immobilization in the cytoplasm occurred at a high rate (80% to 90%) throughout the experi¬ment, with limited toxicity towards Sporosarcina ureae. The bacterial immobilization and detoxification of L-asparagine¬complexed ionic gold was associated with a low molecular weight, i.e, <5,000 dalton (atomic mass unit), intracellular protein fraction. This peptide-complexed gold would allow for the continued biogeochemical cycling of gold under ambient (<100°C) surface or near-surface conditions.
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