We propose research will test the hypothesis where we propose that microbial polyphosphate bodies (PPBs) are the main sites of metal sequestering. We will use our technology of a transmission electron microscope (TEM) with a scanning transmission mode (STGM) and an associated energy dispersive spectrometer (EDX) to determine which cell component sequesters the most metal. Spectra obtained with the spot mode setting of the STEM from different cell components will be obtained. The cell components to be analyzed are capsule (sheath) cell wall. cytoplasm, and PPBs. We will calculate the volume of the cell each of these components has using the appropriate mathematical formula for the shape. The amount of the metal in each cell area will be determined quantitatively using the Princeton Gamma Tech IMIX-EDX. From this data we will calculate amount of metal sequestered in each cell area or component. We propose using for test organisms (1) Plectonema boryanum, (2) Staphylococcus aureus, (3) our isolates from waste water and (4) an activated sludge biomass. If our hypothesis is sustained we will develop a metal removing system where cells with large numbers of PPBs are enrobed in either kappa-carrageenan or Na-alginate. The aerobic system will be converted to an anaerobic environment. This PPB should be dismantled with the metal being released into the supernant. This should allow the metal to be concentrated many times.

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Herbert H. Lehman College
New York
United States
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