U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

First Quantification of Total Thiols on Bacteria and Natural Organic Matter in Environmental Samples
Published: November 09, 2013
Posted: February 07, 2014

Organic thiols react and form complexes with some toxic soft metals such as mercury in both biotic and abiotic systems. However, a clear understanding of these interactions is currently limited because quantifying thiols in environmental matrices is difficult due to their low abundance, susceptibility to oxidation, and measurement interference by non-thiol compounds in samples. A team of scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a fluorescence-labeling method to determine total thiols directly on gram-negative bacterial cells and natural organic matter (NOM) in environmental samples. The method is highly selective and can quantify thiols at submicromolar concentration levels. The direct quantification of organic thiols on NOM and bacterial cells is needed to enable a mechanistic understanding of soft metal and biota interactions, metal speciation, and bioavailability.

Reference: Rao, B., C. Simpson, H. Lin, L. Liang, and B. Gu. 2014. “Determination of Thiol Functional Groups on Bacteria and Natural Organic Matter in Environmental Systems,” Talanta 119, 240-47. (Reference link)

Contact: Paul E. Bayer, SC-23.1, (301) 903-5324
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Subsurface Biogeochemical Research
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)