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New York University School of Medicine

Superfund Research Program

Microbial Biogeochemical Cycling of Arsenic and of Chromium Coupled to the Biodegradation of Aromatic Contaminant Compounds

Project Leader: Lily Y. Young (Rutgers University)
Grant Number: P42ES010344
Funding Period: 2000 - 2006

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Project Summary (2000-2006)

The goal of this project is to investigate the role of microbes in the biogeochemical cycling of chromium and arsenic in the environment. Researchers are examining the detoxification of chromate Cr(VI) to Cr(III) coupled to the degradation of co-contaminant chemicals, such as toluene, phenol or p-cresol. Microbial degradation of the aromatic organics is believed to be coupled to Cr reduction, and potentiated by biotic and abiotic factors found in the environment. Microbial activity also affects the availability and transport of these organic and inorganic contaminants in and through the environment. In addition, researchers are examining the diversity of microbial communities involved in and the extent of microbial arsenic transformations. Molecular biomarkers are being selected, characterized, and developed for environmental strains of microorganisms (both aerobic and anaerobic) which can metabolize toluene, phenol and p-cresol coupled to chromate reduction. Additionally, the rate and extent of arsenic reduction in environmental samples is being investigated in microcosms and by novel isolated pure cultures.

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