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

BER Research Highlights

New Insight Into How Iron Oxide Minerals Influence Transport of Uranium in Subsurface
Published: March 08, 2010
Posted: March 24, 2010

Iron-oxide minerals play a critical role in determining the mobility of subsurface contaminants such as uranium at DOE cleanup sites. Understanding how the surface reactivity of these minerals changes over time is critical to understanding uranium transport. Researchers funded by DOE and NSF at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have developed a new structural model that accounts for gaps in the mineral structure of ferrihydrite as it transforms to the more stable mineral hematite and shows that these gaps are likely to be important sites for the binding of contaminants such as uranium. Synchrotron-based studies led to a detailed analysis of the changes occurring in the mineral structure of ferrihydrite as it is converted to hematite. The research also produced new information about the interaction of microbes with these minerals and how these interactions influence the chemical form of uranium.

Reference: F. Marc Michel, Vidal Barrón, José Torrent, María P. Morales, Carlos J. Serna, Jean-François Boily, Qingsong Liu, Andrea Ambrosini, A. Cristina Cismasu, and Gordon E. Brown, Jr. "Ordered ferrimagnetic form of ferrihydrite reveals links among structure, composition, and magnetism," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107: 2787-2792 (2010).

Contact: Robert T. Anderson, SC 23.1, (301) 903-5549
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Subsurface Biogeochemical Research
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)