BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

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

BER Research Highlights


Predicting Microbial Interactions Could Improve Uranium Bioremediation
Published: March 03, 2011
Posted: April 07, 2011

Advances in genome sequencing and the capability to develop genome-scale metabolic models have enabled the ability to predict microbial interactions. An analysis of two microbes known to compete in situ during tests of uranium bioremediation predicts how life strategies and growth rates for each are altered by substrate and nutrient availability and the implications of these interactions on uranium bioremediation strategies. DOE researchers from the University of Massachusetts and University of Toronto working with metabolic models for two metal-reducing microorganisms (Rhodoferax and Geobacter) present in the subsurface at a uranium bioremediation test site in Rifle, CO, explain how the introduction of acetate and the availability of ammonium impacts growth rates and the life strategies of these two organisms. Acetate addition in the absence of ammonium favors Geobacter metabolism consistent with field observations. However, the models predict that Rhodoferax metabolism should be favored in the presence of ammonium due to a higher overall growth rate. The results help explain field observations of decreased uranium bioreduction activity in areas with elevated ammonium concentrations. Unlike Geobacter species, Rhodoferax species are not known to reduce uranium indicating ammonium concentration as an important design criterion for uranium bioremediation.

Reference: Zhuang, K., M. Izallalen, P. Mouser, H. Richter, C. Risso, R. Mahadevan, and D. R. Lovley. 2011. The ISME Journal 5, 305-16.

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

  • Research Area: Subsurface Biogeochemical Research
  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Modeling

Division: 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

Recent Highlights

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.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)