Bacterial production of organic acids enhances H2O2-dependent iodide oxidation. Academic Article uri icon


  • To develop an understanding of the role that microorganisms play in the transport of (129)I in soil-water systems, bacteria isolated from subsurface sediments were assessed for iodide oxidizing activity. Spent liquid medium from 27/84 bacterial cultures enhanced iodide oxidation 2-10 fold in the presence of H(2)O(2). Organic acids secreted by the bacteria were found to enhance iodide oxidation by (1) lowering the pH of the spent medium, and (2) reacting with H(2)O(2) to form peroxy carboxylic acids, which are extremely strong oxidizing agents. H(2)O(2)-dependent iodide oxidation increased exponentially from 8.4 to 825.9 M with decreasing pH from 9 to 4. Organic acids with 2 carboxy groups enhanced H(2)O(2)-dependent iodide oxidation (1.5-15-fold) as a function of increasing pH above pH 6.0, but had no effect at pH 5.0. The results indicate that as pH decreases (5.0), increasing H(2)O(2) hydrolysis is the driving force behind iodide oxidation. However, at pH 6.0, spontaneous decomposition of peroxy carboxylic acids, generated from H(2)O(2) and organic acids, contributes significantly to iodide oxidation. The results reveal an indirect microbial mechanism, organic acid secretion coupled to H(2)O(2) production, that could enhance iodide oxidation and organo-iodine formation in soils and sediments.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, H., Yeager, C. M., Brinkmeyer, R., Zhang, S., Ho, Y., Xu, C., ... Santschi, P. H.

citation count

  • 46

complete list of authors

  • Li, Hsiu-Ping||Yeager, Chris M||Brinkmeyer, Robin||Zhang, Saijin||Ho, Yi-Fang||Xu, Chen||Jones, Whitney L||Schwehr, Kathleen A||Otosaka, Shigeyoshi||Roberts, Kimberly A||Kaplan, Daniel I||Santschi, Peter H

publication date

  • May 2012