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Real-Time Characterization of Biogeochemical Reduction of Cr(VI) on Basalt Surfaces by SR-FTIR Imaging

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Synchrotron radiation-based (SR) Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectromicroscopy in the mid-infrared region is a surface analytical technique that can provide direct insights into the localization and real-time mechanisms for the reduction of the (CrO4)2- chromate [Cr(VI)] species on surfaces of geologic materials. Time-resolved SR-FTIR spectra indicate that, in the presence of endoliths (mineral-inhabiting microorganisms), microbial reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III) compounds on basaltic mineral surfaces is the key mechanism of Cr(VI) transformation. It proceeds in at least a two-step reaction with Cr(V) compounds as possible intermediate products, with the reduction of Cr(VI) increasing during the concomitant biodegradation of a dilute organic vapor (toluene). Analyses of spatially resolved SR-FTIR spectra show that the maximum reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III) compounds occurs on surfaces densely populated by microorganisms. The oxidation state of Cr(III) compounds was confirmed by micro-x-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopy. Both the time- and space-resolved SR-FTIR spectra show that in the absence of endoliths, Cr(VI) reduction is insignificant. With this effort, the potential use of SR-FTIR spectromicroscopy in providing mechanistic information of reduction of Cr(VI) has been demonstrated. This method can now be expanded to examine other IR-amenable microbial/chemical contaminant systems.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-10-01

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