Oxidation-Reduction Transformations of Chromium in Aerobic Soils and the Role of Electron-Shuttling Quinones in Chemical and Microbiological Pathways
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Soils from three toposequences in Maryland with minimal heavy metal contamination were sampled to investigate oxidation-reduction transformations of chromium in whole soil samples. Chromium (VI) reduction to Cr(III) was observed in all 18 samples, and 11 demonstrated enhanced reduction with the electron shuttle anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS). Oxidation of Cr(III) to Cr(VI) was observed in 12 samples, and 7 samples demonstrated diminished oxidation with AQDS. Lactate was added to the Watchung series to enhance biological activity, and high salt concentration was added to inhibit it. Both treatments reduced Cr(VI) to below detection limits by 11 d, suggesting abiotic reduction. The control treatment demonstrated reduction of Cr(VI) without soil. To further investigate, increasing lactate concentrations were added to Cr(VI) and AQDS. Reduction increased with increasing concentration; 60 mM lactate reduced all Cr(VI) within 1 hr. Other organic acids were tested for similar interactions; tartrate and citrate reduced Cr(VI), which was enhanced with AQDS.