Found out last week that some photos we submitted with our recent article in Applied and Environmental Microbiology will be used on the cover for an upcoming issue! The article described work led by Tarah Sullivan (A.K.A. Microbial Modus) on some soil fungi we isolated from a small arms firing range that can actually dissolve lead! They do this via the secretion of milieu of low molecular weight organic acids into their surroundings as they grow which changes the mineral form and solubility of the lead. We are studying these as part of DoD funded project that is trying to understand the factors contributing to lead bioavailability in contaminated soils. Makes for some pretty cool photos as well. In the age of online digital journals when I’m sure well over 95% of readers will link to our article via the web, I’m not sure if it means as much as it used too. Still it was fun to do, and hopefully it brings some further attention to the scientific work in the paper!
The photos below, clockwise from left, show:
– a sign with the abandoned firing range site where we did the work in the background
– my finger pointing to lead bullets embedded in the soil
– some of the 800 grams of bullets we sieved out and cleaned from our samples
– Several fungi growing on Petri plates with lead carbonate in suspension that are showing a “zone of clearing” around the outer edge of the colony where they have dissolved the lead.