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Volume 76, No 1,2010; Pages: 102–109

Role of Extracellular Polymeric Substances in the Surface Chemical Reactivity of Hymenobacter aerophilus, a Psychrotolerant Bacterium

M. G. Baker,1* S. V. Lalonde,2 K. O. Konhauser,2 and J. M. Foght1

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G2R3.


Bacterial surface layers, such as extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), are known to play an important role in metal sorption and biomineralization; however, there have been very few studies investigating how environmentally induced changes in EPS production affect the cell’s surface chemistry and reactivity. Acidbase titrations, cadmium adsorption assays, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) were used to characterize the surface reactivities of Hymenobacter aerophilus cells with intact EPS (WC) or stripped of EPS (SC) and purified EPS alone. Linear programming modeling of titration data showed SC to possess functional groups corresponding to phosphoryl (pKa ~6.5), phosphoryl/amine (pKa ~7.9), and amine/hydroxyl (pKa ~9.9). EPS and WC both possess carboxyl groups (pKa ~5.1 to 5.8) in addition to phosphoryl and amine groups. FT-IR confirmed the presence of polysaccharides and protein in purified EPS that can account for the additional carboxyl groups. An increased ligand density was observed for WC relative to that for SC, leading to an increase in the amount of Cd adsorbed (0.53 to 1.73 mmol/liter per g [dry weight] and 0.53 to 0.59 mmol/liter per g [dry weight], respectively). Overall, the presence of EPS corresponds to an increase in the
number and type of functional groups on the surface of H. aerophilus that is reflected by increased metal adsorption relative to that for EPS-free cells.

Keywords: Hymenobacter aerophilus,Micrococcus sp,Pseudoalteromonas haloplanktis.

Corresponding author: Phone: (780) 492-4434. Fax: (780) 492-9234.

E-mail: mgbaker@ualberta.ca


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