arrA Is a Reliable Marker for As(V) Respiration

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Science  15 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5695, pp. 455
DOI: 10.1126/science.1102374

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Arsenate [As(V)]-respiring bacteria affect the speciation and mobilization of arsenic in the environment. This can lead to arsenic contamination of drinking water supplies and deleterious consequences for human health. Using molecular genetics, we show that the functional gene for As(V) respiration, arrA, is highly conserved; that it is required for As(V) reduction to arsenite when arsenic is sorbed onto iron minerals; and that it can be used to identify the presence and activity of As(V)-respiring bacteria in arsenic-contaminated iron-rich sediments. The expression of arrA thus can be used to monitor sites in which As(V)-respiring bacteria may be controlling arsenic geochemistry.

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