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The ecology of arsenic

January 1, 2003

Arsenic is a metalloid whose name conjures up images of murder. Nonetheless, certain prokaryotes use arsenic oxyanions for energy generation, either by oxidizing arsenite or by respiring arsenate. These microbes are phylogenetically diverse and occur in a wide range of habitats. Arsenic cycling may take place in the absence of oxygen and can contribute to organic matter oxidation. In aquifers, these microbial reactions may mobilize arsenic from the solid to the aqueous phase, resulting in contaminated drinking water. Here we review what is known about arsenic-metabolizing bacteria and their potential impact on speciation and mobilization of arsenic in nature.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2003
Title The ecology of arsenic
DOI 10.1126/science.1081903
Authors Ronald S. Oremland, John F. Stolz
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70185127
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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