Bioprocessing By Bacteria Amended
With Tellurium Salts
O. M. Akpolat, V.
Van Fleet-Stalder, and T. G. Chasteen
Department of Chemistry and Texas Research Institute for
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas 77341-2117
Batch bioreactor experiments were carried out to study
the headspace production of organometalloids by Pseudomonas fluorescens,
a facultative anaerobic bacteria. The headspace from control and tellurite
or tellurate poisoned cultures were sampled every hour and analyzed by
gas chromatography with chemiluminescence detection. Organosulfur and organotellurium
peaks were identified using standards and gas chromatography mass spectrometry.
Specific growth rates were calculated for each culture. Optical densities
of over 0.4 were achieved when the bacteria reached stationary phase. In
tellurite or tellurate poisoned experiments, black metallic tellurium was
also observed in the bioreactor vessel when the stationary phase was reached.
Recent experiments involving the possible oxidation of organotellurium
to metallic tellurium will be discussed.