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Trace Metal Imaging of Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria and Methanogenic Archaea at Single-Cell Resolution by Synchrotron X-Ray Fluorescence Imaging

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posted on 19.05.2017 by Jennifer B. Glass, Si Chen, Katherine S. Dawson, Damian R. Horton, Stefan Vogt, Ellery D. Ingall, Benjamin S. Twining, Victoria J. Orphan

Metal cofactors are required for many enzymes in anaerobic microbial respiration. This study examined iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, and zinc in cellular and abiotic phases at the single-cell scale for a sulfate-reducing bacterium (Desulfococcus multivorans) and a methanogenic archaeon (Methanosarcina acetivorans) using synchrotron X-ray fluorescence microscopy. Relative abundances of cellular metals were also measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. For both species, zinc and iron were consistently the most abundant cellular metals. M. acetivorans contained higher nickel and cobalt content than D. multivorans, likely due to elevated metal requirements for methylotrophic methanogenesis. Cocultures contained spheroid zinc sulfides and cobalt/copper sulfides.


This work was supported by a NASA Astrobiology Postdoctoral Fellowship to J.B.G, NASA Exobiology award NNX14AJ87G to J.B.G., DOE Biological and Environmental Research award DE-SC0004949 to V.J.O, NSF award OCE-0939564 to V.J.O, NSF award OCE-1232814 to B.S.T., and NSF award OCE-1357375 to E.D.I. This work was also supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute Alternative Earths Team (Science Mission Directorate award NNA15BB03A). Use of the Advanced Photon Source, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory, was supported by the U.S. DOE under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. Use of the LS-CAT Sector 21 was supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Technology Tri-Corridor (Grant 085P1000817). We thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful feedback on the previous version of this manuscript.