Newly Funded DFG Project: Unravelling the role of iron reduction coupled to anaerobic methane oxidation in triggering arsenic mobilization in groundwater

March 12, 2024 / Dr. Ilka Schwittlinsky

Arsenic, a silent killer, poses a significant threat to public health, with up to 200 million people worldwide at risk due to exposure to As-rich groundwater. Addressing this issue requires understanding the mechanisms behind As mobilization, particularly the role of microbial processes.

Under the leadership of Professor Kleindienst (Environmental Microbiology, University of Stuttgart) and Kappler (Geomicrobiology, University of Tuebingen), our team has previously demonstrated, for the first time, the link between Fe(III)-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation microorganisms and arsenic mobilization in the Red River Delta, Vietnam, under the DFG-funded "AdvectAs" project. Building on this success, our newly funded DFG project aims to delve deeper into these novel processes.

In this multidisciplinary project, we will conduct an extensive field campaign across various sites in the Red River Delta, Vietnam. Employing a range of techniques including incubation, isolation, and cutting-edge omics approaches, we aim to investigate the relevance of the microbial Fe reduction couple to methane oxidation in arsenic mobilization.

Through our research, we expect to shed light on the significance of Fe(III)-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation microorganisms in arsenic mobilization and gain insights into the metabolism of novel anaerobic methane oxidizers in As-contaminated aquifers.

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