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The Metabolism of Arsenite

Edited by Joanne M. Santini, Seamus A. Ward

CRC Press – 2012 – 218 pages

Series: Arsenic in the environment

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    April 19th 2012


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


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

Name: The Metabolism of Arsenite (Hardback)CRC Press 
Description: Edited by Joanne M. Santini, Seamus A. Ward. 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...
Categories: Toxicology, Environmental & Ecological Toxicology