The Metabolism of Arsenite (Hardback) book cover

The Metabolism of Arsenite

Edited by Joanne M. Santini, Seamus A. Ward

© 2012 – CRC Press

218 pages

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Hardback: 9780415697194
pub: 2012-04-20

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Up to 200 million people in 70 countries are at risk from drinking water contaminated with arsenic, which is a major cause of chronic debilitating illnesses and fatal cancers. Until recently little was known about the mobility of arsenic, and how redox transformations determined its movement into or out of water supplies. Although human activities contribute to the release of arsenic from minerals, it is now clear that bacteria are responsible for most of the redox transformation of arsenic in the environment. Bacterial oxidation of arsenite (to the less mobile arsenate) has been known since 1918, but it was not until 2000 that a bacterium was shown to gain energy from this process. Since then a wide range of arsenite-oxidizing bacteria have been isolated, including aerobes and anaerobes; heterotrophs and autotrophs; thermophiles, mesophiles and psychrophiles. This book reviews recent advances in the study of such bacteria. After a section on background—geology and health issues—the main body of the book concerns the cellular machinery of arsenite oxidation. It concludes by examining possible applications. Topics treated are:

  • The geology and cycling of arsenic
  • Arsenic and disease
  • Arsenite oxidation: physiology, enzymes, genes, and gene regulation.
  • Community genomics and functioning, and the evolution of arsenite oxidation
  • Microbial arsenite oxidation in bioremediation
  • Biosensors for arsenic in drinking water and industrial effluents

Table of Contents

Arsenic in the environment

D. Kossoff & K.A. Hudson-Edward


Chemistry and mineralogy of arsenic

Distribution of arsenic in the environment

Processes of arsenic cycling in the environment

Giant Mine,Yellowknife, Canada: Arsenite waste as the legacy of gold mining and processing

M. Bromstad & H.E. Jamieson



Arsenic and arsenite in mine wastes and surrounding area

Transformation and remobilization of arsenic species

Site remediation


Genotoxic and carcinogenic risk of arsenic exposure. Influence of interindividual genetic variability

R. Marcos & A. Hernández


Carcinogenic risk

Genotoxic risk

Genetic polymorphisms affecting carcinogenic risk

Genetic polymorphisms affecting genotoxic risk


Overview of microbial arsenic metabolism and resistance

J.F. Stolz


Arsenic resistance

Arsenic in energy generation

Prokaryotic aerobic oxidation of arsenite

T.H. Osborne & J.M. Santini


Aerobic arsenite-oxidizing bacteria

Arsenite metabolism

Aerobic arsenite-oxidizing communities

Summary and future directions

Anaerobic oxidation of arsenite by autotrophic bacteria: The view from Mono Lake, California

R.S. Oremland, J.F. Stolz & C.W. Saltikov


Nitrate-respiring arsenite-oxidizers

An annotated arsenate reductase that runs in reverse

Anoxygenic photosynthesis fueled by arsenite

Arsenite oxidase

M.D. Heath, B. Schoepp-Cothenet, T.H. Osborne & J.M. Santini


Characteristics of the arsenite oxidase

Microbial arsenic response and metabolism in the genomics era

P.N. Bertin, L. Geist, D. Halter, S. Koechler, M. Marchal & F. Arsène-Ploetze


Descriptive and comparative genomics

High-throughput genomics reveal the functioning of microorganisms


Arsenite oxidation – regulation of gene expression

M.Wojnowska & S. Djordjevic


Multiple modes of arsenite oxidase regulation

AioSR and their involvement in Aio regulation

Quorum sensing

Heat-shock protein DNAJ


Evolution of arsenite oxidation

R. van Lis,W. Nitschke, S. Duval & B. Schoepp-Cothenet


Molecular description of arsenic bioenergetic enzymes

Function of the enzymes

Phylogenetic analysis of Aio and Arr

Taking bioenergetics into account

Evolutionary scenario of arsenite oxidation

Remediation using arsenite-oxidizing bacteria

F. Delavat, M.-C. Lett & D. Lièvremont


Arsenite oxidation-based remediation bioprocesses


Development of biosensors for the detection of arsenic in drinking water

C. French, K. de Mora, N. Joshi, J. Haseloff & J. Ajioka


Biosensors for detection of environmental toxins

Biosensors for arsenic


Subject index

About the Series

Arsenic in the environment

ISSN 1876-6218

Series Editors:
Jochen Bundschuh, University of Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia -
Prosun Bhattacharya, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockhlom, Sweden -

The book series "Arsenic in the Environment" is an inter- and multidisciplinary source of information, making an effort to link the occurrence of geogenic arsenic in different environments and the potential contamination of ground- and surface water, soil and air and their effect on the human society. The series fulfills the growing interest on the arsenic issue worldwide which is going alongside with stronger regulations of arsenic contents in drinking water and food, which were and are adapted not only by the industrialized countries, but increasingly by developing countries.

The book series covers all fields of research concerning arsenic in the environment with an aim to present an integrated approach from its occurrence in rocks and their mobilization into the ground- and surface water, soil and air, its transport therein, the pathways of arsenic and their introduction into the food chain up to the uptake by humans. Human arsenic exposure, bioavailability, metabolism and toxicology are treated together with related public health effects and risk assessments in order to better manage the contaminated land and aquatic environments to reduce human arsenic exposure. Arsenic removal technologies and other methodologies to mitigate the arsenic problem are addressed not only from the technological, but also from economic and social point of view. Only such inter- and multidisciplinary approaches, would allow case-specific selection of optimal mitigation measures of each specific arsenic problem mitigate the problem and provide the population arsenic safe drinking water, food, and air.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Toxicology
SCIENCE / Environmental Science