The Sequence of Bioremediation Microbe Shewanella oneidensis Published

Shewanella oneidensis can directly reduce both uranium and chromium from the dissolved liquid state.

The Science

The November 2002 issue of Nature Biotechnology includes the publication of the complete 4.9 million base pair, 4,758 predicted gene containing, sequence of the genome of Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. This non-pathogenic microbe displays astonishing metabolic diversity and versatility, having the ability to use more than ten different elements (among them iron, manganese, sulfur, oxygen, chromium and uranium) to generate energy and in the process modifying both the chemical form and subsequent environmental behavior. Shewanella renders uranium immobile in sediments and could prevent leaching into nearby rivers. Continued research on the microbe is underway to explore the potential for bioremediation of DOE legacy wastes.

The Impact

Shewanella oneidensis is an important model organism for bioremediation studies because of its diverse respiratory capabilities, conferred in part by multicomponent, branched electron transport systems. Researchers identified the first Shewanella lambda-like phage, providing a potential tool for further genome engineering. Genome analysis revealed 39 c-type cytochromes, including 32 previously unidentified in S. oneidensis, and a novel periplasmic [Fe] hydrogenase, which are integral members of the electron transport system. This genome sequence represents a critical step in the elucidation of the pathways for reduction (and bioremediation) of pollutants such as uranium (U) and chromium (Cr), and offers a starting point for defining this organism’s complex electron transport systems and metal ion–reducing capabilities.

BER Program Manager

Ramana Madupu

U.S. Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (SC-33)
Biological Systems Science Division
[email protected]


Heidelberg, J. F., I. T. Paulsen, K. E. Nelson, E. J. Gaidos, W. C. Nelson, T. D. Read, J. A. Eisen, R. Seshadri, N. Ward, B. Methe, R. A. Clayton, T. Meyer, A. Tsapin, J. Scott, M. Beanan, L. Brinkac, S. Daugherty, R. T. DeBoy, R. J. Dodson, A. S. Durkin, D. H. Haft, J. F. Kolonay, R. Madupu, J. D. Peterson, L. A. Umayam, O. White, A. M. Wolf, J. Vamathevan, J. Weidman, M. Impraim, K. Lee, K. Berry, C. Lee, J. Mueller, H. Khouri, J. Gill, T. R. Utterback, L. A. McDonald, T. V. Feldblyum, H. O. Smith, J. Craig Venter, K. H. Nealson, C. M. Fraser. 2002. “Genome Sequence of the Dissimilatory Metal Ion–Reducing Bacterium Shewanella oneidensis,” Nature Biotechnology 20, 1118–23. DOI:10.1038/nbt749.