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Title: The bacterial biogenic synthesis of magnetic, catalytic and semiconducting nanomaterials
Author: Fellowes, Jonathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 0208
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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The environmental, microbiological and technological aspects of selenium is explored with the aim of assessing and identifying microorganisms capable of interacting with Se in the environment and forming functional 'bionanomaterials'. To determine the natural microbial response to high selenium concentrations, and to understand the role soil microorganisms play in transforming Se, a field site in Co. Meath, Ireland, was identified and sampled to determine the Se contents. Detailed examination of the soil profile showed toxic levels of Se up to 156ppm. The highest Se concentrations correlated with elevated concentrations of higher plant matter, inferring a phytoconcentration mechanism for Se within a post glacial fen, and Se was identified as a reduced organic species. Microcosm experiments were established to test whether the soil microbial community displayed increased resistance to Se. These revealed the Se present in the soil was recalcitrant to microbial degradation and Se(VI) enriched experiments were noted to cause drastic alterations in community structure, indicating elevated Se resistance was not widespread throughout the community. Despite this, amended Se(VI) was rapidly reduced to Se(0), as determined by XAS. Selenium, and the group 16 element tellurium, also display physico-chemical properties that make them ideal for a range of industrial, chemical and technological applications, including sequestration of hazardous wastes and as metal chalcogenide semiconducting 'quantum dots'. Se(0) and Te(0) bionanomaterials formed by 'resting cell' cultures of the model environmental isolate Geobacter sulfurreducens, despite low MIC values, were characterised and subsequently applied to the sequestration of Hg(0)v derived from Hg historically used to preserve herbarium specimens. This showed that the Hg can be sequestered by the Se(0) bionanoparticles in the form of HgSe and demonstrated increased stability over abiotic counterparts. Finally, the bacteria G. sulfurreducens, Shewanella oneidensis and Veillonella atypica were compared for Se(IV) reducing capabilities, and V. atypica was shown to be adept at the production of significant quantities of Se(II-) utilising the electron shuttle AQDS. Biogenic Se(II-) compared favourably with abiotic Se(II-) solutions in the formation of metal selenide quantum dots, displaying increased particle growth control as shown via a novel, time resolved XAS technique. Bacterial polymeric substances are inferred in controlling Se(II-) precursor stability. This research shows that bacteria represent an alternative, facile, 'green' synthetic method for the production of next-generation technological nanomaterials.
Supervisor: Pearce, Carolyn ; Pattrick, Richard ; Lloyd, Jonathan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: selenium ; bionanomaterials ; quantum dots ; geomicrobiology