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Title: Prospects for Fungal Bioremediation of Acidic Radioactive Waste Sites: Characterization and Genome Sequence of Rhodotorula taiwanensis MD1149

Highly concentrated radionuclide waste produced during the Cold War era is stored at US Department of Energy (DOE) production sites. This radioactive waste was often highly acidic and mixed with heavy metals, and has been leaking into the environment since the 1950s. Because of the danger and expense of cleanup of such radioactive sites by physicochemical processes, in situ bioremediation methods are being developed for cleanup of contaminated ground and groundwater. To date, the most developed microbial treatment proposed for high-level radioactive sites employs the radiation-resistant bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans. However, the use of Deinococcus spp. and other bacteria is limited by their sensitivity to low pH. Here, we report the characterization of 27 diverse environmental yeasts for their resistance to ionizing radiation (chronic and acute), heavy metals, pH minima, temperature maxima and optima, and their ability to form biofilms. Remarkably, many yeasts are extremely resistant to ionizing radiation and heavy metals. They also excrete carboxylic acids and are exceptionally tolerant to low pH. A special focus is placed on Rhodotorula taiwanensis MD1149, which was the most resistant to acid and gamma radiation. MD1149 is capable of growing under 66 Gy/h at pH 2.3 and in the presence of high concentrationsmore » of mercury and chromium compounds, and forming biofilms under high-level chronic radiation and low pH. We present the whole genome sequence and annotation of R. taiwanensis strain MD1149, with a comparison to other Rhodotorula species. This survey elevates yeasts to the frontier of biology's most radiation-resistant representatives, presenting a strong rationale for a role of fungi in bioremediation of acidic radioactive waste sites.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [8] ;  [2] ;  [4] ;  [9]
  1. Uniformed Services Univ. of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD (United States). Dept. of Pathology; Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Bethesda, MD (United States)
  2. Univ. of Ljubljana, Ljubljana (Slovenia). Dept. of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty
  3. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  4. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Biosciences and Biotechnology Division, Physics and Life Sciences Directorate
  5. European Molecular Biology Lab., European Bioinformatics Inst. (EMBL-EBI), Cambridge (United Kingdom)
  6. Uniformed Services Univ. of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD (United States). Collaborative Health Initiative Research Program
  7. Uniformed Services Univ. of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD (United States). Dept. of Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics; American Genome Center, Bethesda, MD (United States)
  8. Naval Medical Research Center, Fredrick, MD (United States). Biological Defense Research Directorate
  9. Uniformed Services Univ. of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD (United States). Dept. of Pathology
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X; 840367
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344; NA0002322
Published Article
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Microbiology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X
Frontiers Research Foundation
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; Environmental sciences, Biological and medical sciences, Radiation effects on living organisms
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1468907