The metal resistant bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans
CH34, challenged with aqueous platinous and platinic chloride, rapidly immobilized platinum. XANES/EXAFS analysis of these reaction systems demonstrated that platinum binding shifted from chloride to carboxyl functional groups within the bacteria. Pt(IV) was more toxic than Pt(II), presumably due to the oxidative stress imparted by the platinic form. Platinum immobilisation increased with time and with increasing concentrations of platinum. From a bacterial perspective, intracellular platinum concentrations were two to three orders of magnitude greater than the fluid phase, and became saturated at almost molar concentrations in both reaction systems. TEM revealed that C. metallidurans
was also able to precipitate nm-scale colloidal platinum, primarily along the cell envelope where energy generation/electron transport occurs. Cells enriched in platinum shed outer membrane vesicles that were enriched in metallic, colloidal platinum, likely representing an important detoxification strategy. The formation of organo-platinum compounds and membrane encapsulated nanophase platinum, supports a role for bacteria in the formation and transport of platinum in natural systems, forming dispersion halos important to metal exploration.
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