Aims: To investigate Klebsiella oxytoca strain BAS-10 growth on ferric citrate under anaerobic conditions for exopolysaccharide (EPS) production and localization on cell followed by the purification and the EPS determination of the iron-binding stability constant to EPS or biotechnological applications. Methods and Results: Klebsiella oxytoca ferments ferric citrate under anaerobic conditions and produces a ferric hydrogel, whereas ferrous ions were formed in solution. During growth, cells precipitate and a hydrogel formation was observed: the organic material was constituted of an EPS bound to Fe(III) ions, this was found by chemical analyses of the iron species and transmission electron microscopy of the cell cultures. Iron binding to EPS was studied by cyclic voltammetric measurements, either directly on the hydrogel or in an aqueous solutions containing Fe(III)-citrate and purified Fe(III)-EPS. From the voltammetric data, the stability constant for the Fe(III)-EPS complex can be assumed to have values of approx. 1012–1013. It was estimated that this is higher than for the Fe(III)-citrate complex. Conclusions: The production of Fe(III)-EPS under anaerobic conditions is a strategy for the strain to survive in mine drainages and other acidic conditions. This physiological feature can be used to produce large amounts of valuable Fe(III)-EPS, starting from a low cost substrate such as Fe(III)-citrate. Significant and Impact of the Study: The data herein demonstrates that an interesting metal-binding molecule can be produced as a novel catalyst for a variety of potential applications and the EPS itself is a valuable source for rhamnose purification.
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