Biogenic manganese oxides (BMOs) have gained increasing attention for environmental application because of their sequestration and oxidizing abilities for various elements. Oxidation and sequestration of Cr(III) by BMOs, however, still remain unknown. We prepared BMOs in liquid cultures of Acremonium strictum
strain KR21-2, and subsequently conducted single or repeated treatment experiments in Cr(NO3
at pH 6.0. Under aerobic conditions, newly formed BMOs exhibited a rapid production of Cr(VI) without a significant release of Mn(II), demonstrating that newly formed BMO mediates a catalytic oxidation of Cr(III) with a self-regeneration step of reduced Mn. In anaerobic solution, newly formed BMOs showed a cessation of Cr(III) oxidation in the early stage of the reaction, and subsequently had a much smaller Cr(VI) production with significant release of reduced Mn(II). Extraordinary sequestration of Cr(III) was observed during the repeated treatments under anaerobic conditions. Anaerobically sequestered Cr(III) was readily converted to Cr(VI) when the conditions became aerobic, which suggests that the surface passivation is responsible for the anaerobic cessation of Cr(III) oxidation. The results presented herein increase our understanding of the roles of BMO in Cr(III) oxidation and sequestration processes in potential application of BMOs towards the remediation of Cr(III)/Cr(VI) in contaminated sites.
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