Addition of organic carbon compounds to uranium-contaminated environments stimulates the activity of microorganisms resulting in the removal of uranium from groundwater. Researchers at LBNL have shown that competing biogeochemical reactions driven by the rate of organic carbon supply strongly influence uranium mobility during biostimulation and must be carefully optimized to ensure the sustainability of the remediation technique. At low organic carbon supply rates, desorption of uranium from sediments increases soluble uranium concentrations while higher rates stimulate conditions necessary for removal of soluble uranium via microbial bioreduction in laboratory column experiments. Further increases in organic carbon supply rate lead to formation of uranium-carbonate complexes that may drive uranium reoxidation thereby increasing soluble uranium concentrations. The results illustrate that uranium bioremediation processes are more complicated than previously thought and organic carbon supply rates will need to be optimized to balance several competing biogeochemical processes to ensure uranium immobilization over long time frames.
Reference: Environ. Sci. Technol., 2008, 42(23): 8901-8907.
Contact: Robert T. Anderson, SC-23.1, (301) 903-5549
SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER
BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER
Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]
Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]
Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]
Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.
Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
List all highlights (possible long download time)