U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

NABIR Research Published in Nature Shows Bacterial Transformation of Uranium Results in Nanometer Size Particles
Published: September 18, 2002
Posted: September 30, 2002

This finding has important implications for uraninite reactivity and fate because these tiny particles may be transported in an aqueous environment, rather than immobilized, as previously assumed. Dr. Ken Kemner, a Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research Program investigator at ANL, is a senior author on a brief communication in the September 12, 2002 issue of the premier scientific journal Nature: "Radionuclide contamination: Nanometre-size products of uranium bioreduction," (Y. Suzuki et al., Nature 419:134, 2002). The research showed that uraninite (UO2) particles formed from uranium in sediments by bacterial reduction are typically less than 2 nanometers in size. This pioneering work lies at the interface between geology and biology. These results will help to fine-tune the control of microbial processes designed to remediate DOE's contaminated sites, and will contribute to basic understanding of the uranium biogeochemistry in nature worldwide. Kemner is a recipient of both the Presidential Early Career and the DOE Early Career Scientist Awards.

Contact: Brendlyn Faison, SC-75, 3-0042
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Subsurface Biogeochemical Research
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Cross-Cutting: Early Career

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER
      (formerly SC-75 Environmental Remediation Sciences Division, OBER)


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