Microbial Uptake of Lead

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Science  23 Jun 1972:
Vol. 176, Issue 4041, pp. 1334-1335
DOI: 10.1126/science.176.4041.1334


Micrococcus luteus and Azotobacter sp. cells grown in broth in contact with a dialysis membrane containing lead bromide were found to immobilize 4.9 and 3.1 x 102 milligrams of lead per gram of whole cells, on a dry weight basis, respectively. Culture turbidity and cell count measurements on these and other cell cultures show that lead bromide, lead iodide, and lead bromochloride in concentrations approaching solubility limits have no detectable effect on overall growth rate and cell viability. Analyses of cellular subfractions reveal that fractions of cell wall plus membrane contain 99.3 and 99.1 percent of the lead found associated with Micrococcus luteus and Azotobacter sp., respectively. The remainder is found associated with the cytoplasmic fractions.