Get access

Hg2+ Removal by Genetically Engineered Escherichia coli in a Hollow Fiber Bioreactor

Authors

  • ShaoLin Chen,

    1. Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853
    Search for more papers by this author
  • EunKi Kim,

    1. Section of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Biological Engineering, Inha University, Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michael L. Shuler,

    1. School of Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David B. Wilson

    Corresponding author
    1. Section of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853
    • Section of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853. Telephone: (607) 255–5706. Fax: (607) 255–2428
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Escherichia coli cells engineered to express an Hg2+ transport system and metallothionein accumulated Hg2+ effectively over a concentration range of 0.2–4 mg/L in batch systems. Bioaccumulation was selective against other metal ions and resistant to changes in ambient conditions such as pH, ionic strength, and the presence of common metal chelators or complexing agents (Chen, S.-L.; Wilson, D. B. Appl.Environ.Microbiol.1997, 63, 2442–2445; Biodegradation1997, 8, 97–103). Here we report the characterization of the bioaccumulation system based on its kinetics and an isotherm. Bioaccumulation was rapid and followed Michaelis−Menten kinetics. A hollow fiber bioreactor was constructed to retain the genetically engineered cells. The bioreactor was capable of removing and recovering Hg2+ effectively at low concentrations, reducing a 2 mg/L solution to about 5 μg/L. A mathematical equation that quantitatively described Hg2+ removal by the bioreactor provides a basis for the optimization and extrapolation of the bioreactor. The genetically engineered E.coli cells and the bioreactor system have excellent properties for bioremediation of Hg2+-contaminated environments.

Ancillary