Investigation Of The Biologically Reduced And Methylated Compounds Of Antimony

Hakan Gurleyuk and Thomas G. Chasteen

Department of Chemistry, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas 77341-2117

Except for the inconclusive findings of workers in the 1940s, there has been no evidence that living organisms can reduce and methylate compounds of antimony, an element immediately below arsenic in the periodic table. We have carried out experiments in which either a culture of P. fluorescens, a facultative anaerobe, or a bacterial mixed culture isolated from a soil sample from an arsenic polluted site in Switzerland was poisoned with different antimony compounds in various growth media. The bacteria were allowed to grow anaerobically in a test tube and the headspace was then analyzed for reduced and methylated antimony compounds using either a sulfur chemiluminescence detector or a mass spectrometer after separation by gas chromatography. The most recent results will be presented and discussed.