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Terry Gulliver

Chapelle, 2001 2nd Ed Groundwater microbiology & geochem, Wiley, has it that "it has recently been shown that much H2S produced under anaerobic conditions is also reoxidized anaerobically. Anaerobic oxidation of sulfide appears to be coupled to reduction of Fe(III) present in the sediments and thiosulfate, a partially oxidized intermediate compound, is produced. Thiosulfate is then disproportionated to either sulfate or sulfide."
In 2002 we showed sulfate reduction of tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) in a shallow groundwater plume, with TBA C-13 and sulfate S34 fractionating along the path. In the TBA source area, the very low concentrations of sulfate had very scattered S34, suggesting recycling of S and Fe oxides on sand grains. No detectable Fe or sulfide solutes in the plume. The sand was originally aerobic; about 10 years after the major spills, this sulfate reducing regime developed, and the plume retreated like a glacier over five years and all but vanished, the groundwater returning to aerobic. We had no evidence of aerobic degradation of the very pure TBA in early days & it is commonly claimed this does not occur. We were not allowed by the owner to carry the study too much further into "science project" realm. But I am endlessly fascinated by microbes' turning up with the right toolbox in peculiar circumstances, given, like a plumber, time to get around to it.

Elio's response.
Fascinating! It shows how complex and varied microbial activities can be! Thanks for sharing this.

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