Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Molecular Biology Microbiology and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Rusch, Antje


An arsenic-rich shallow hydrothermal vent ecosystem in Tutum Bay, Papua New Guinea was the source of an enrichment culture for arsenate reducing microorganisms. From this enrichment culture a novel species of Burkholderia was isolated. It was analyzed by fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) and DNA-DNA hybridizations and tentatively named Burkholderia papuensis. This novel isolate is nicknamed strain April until there is valid publication of the species name. This strain is characterized as a gram-negative facultative aerobic bacterium able to reduce nitrate. It has a polar flagellum. Strain April has an optimum growth temperature between 30-37 0C and a temperature range from 40C to 400C. Its minimum pH is between 3-4, and its upper limit of growth is approaching pH 9.2. It can utilize glucose, benzoic acid, acetate, succinate, DL-malate, arabinose, and citrate. Strain April also has a tolerance to arsenate and arsenite up to at least 500 μM. The novel strain can reduce 2% of total arsenate when incubated in microoxic conditions. Strain April shows possible chemolithoautotrophic growth with O2 as the electron acceptor, and inorganic electron donors including thiosulfate. It does not seem to grow by chemolithoautotrophic means on H2S, sulfite, nitrite and arsenite.




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