First Quantification of Total Thiols on Bacteria and Natural Organic Matter in Environmental Samples


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.

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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.