Superoxide production by a manganese-oxidizing bacterium facilitates iodide oxidation. Academic Article uri icon


  • The release of radioactive iodine (i.e., iodine-129 and iodine-131) from nuclear reprocessing facilities is a potential threat to human health. The fate and transport of iodine are determined primarily by its redox status, but processes that affect iodine oxidation states in the environment are poorly characterized. Given the difficulty in removing electrons from iodide (I(-)), naturally occurring iodide oxidation processes require strong oxidants, such as Mn oxides or microbial enzymes. In this study, we examine iodide oxidation by a marine bacterium, Roseobacter sp. AzwK-3b, which promotes Mn(II) oxidation by catalyzing the production of extracellular superoxide (O2(-)). In the absence of Mn(2+), Roseobacter sp. AzwK-3b cultures oxidized 90% of the provided iodide (10 M) within 6 days, whereas in the presence of Mn(II), iodide oxidation occurred only after Mn(IV) formation ceased. Iodide oxidation was not observed during incubations in spent medium or with whole cells under anaerobic conditions or following heat treatment (boiling). Furthermore, iodide oxidation was significantly inhibited in the presence of superoxide dismutase and diphenylene iodonium (a general inhibitor of NADH oxidoreductases). In contrast, the addition of exogenous NADH enhanced iodide oxidation. Taken together, the results indicate that iodide oxidation was mediated primarily by extracellular superoxide generated by Roseobacter sp. AzwK-3b and not by the Mn oxides formed by this organism. Considering that extracellular superoxide formation is a widespread phenomenon among marine and terrestrial bacteria, this could represent an important pathway for iodide oxidation in some environments.

published proceedings

  • Appl Environ Microbiol

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, H., Daniel, B., Creeley, D., Grandbois, R., Zhang, S., Xu, C., ... Yeager, C. M.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Li, Hsiu-Ping||Daniel, Benjamin||Creeley, Danielle||Grandbois, Russell||Zhang, Saijin||Xu, Chen||Ho, Yi-Fang||Schwehr, Kathy A||Kaplan, Daniel I||Santschi, Peter H||Hansel, Colleen M||Yeager, Chris M

editor list (cited editors)

  • Kelly, R. M.

publication date

  • May 2014