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McKelvey School of Engineering

EECE Seminar - Rizlan Bernier-Latmani

Friday, November 20 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Virtual Event

Rizlan Bernier-Latmani, Associate Professor at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, will present.

Microbial aersenic methylation and volatilization in soils

ABSTRACT: Arsenic (As) is highly toxic metalloid that is commonly and naturally found in soils and sediments. Microorganisms are able to catalyze many arsenic transformations, including methylation, which results in the formation of volatile arsenic compounds. As methylation is particularly important in anoxic environments, such as flooded rice paddy soils. In fact, microbially-derived methylated As is hyperaccumulated to an even greater extent than inorganic As in the rice grain. However, there is little known about the microorganisms responsible for As methylation in soils. Here, we use pure cultures to deconvolute the biological controls on As methylation and we use meta-omic tools to identify the microorganisms responsible for methylation in soil. We found that in anaerobic microorganisms, efficient efflux of trivalent inorganic As precludes methylation and that fermentative bacteria play a key role in As methylation in soil enrichments.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology



Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Event Contact

Patty Kofron, pkofron@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Rizlan Bernier-Latmani, Associate Professor
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
[Host: Dr. Giammar]

BIO: Rizlan Bernier-Latmani is a geomicrobiologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL). She studied Natural Resources at Cornell University (BS 1993) and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University (MS 1995; PhD 2001). She then did a post-doctoral stint with Brad Tebo at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA (2001 - 2005). Her interests started with uranium biogeochemistry and expanded to chromium biogeochemistry and more recently, arsenic biogeochemistry. Her interests are mainly on reductive processes in anaerobic environments. She is also involved in delineating the role of microorganisms in nuclear waste disposal and their impact on the safety of the deep geological repositories in clay or granite rocks as host rocks that are planned as disposal sites Europe. Finally, she is also working on the microbiology of the mammalian gut, particularly the microbial transformation of host-derived bile acids in the intestinal tract.

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