BER Research Highlights

Search Date: June 27, 2017

7 Records match the search term(s):


November 22, 2004

Walter J. Weber, Jr., Honored with Festshrift Issue of Environmental Science & Technology

The November 15, 2004, issue of the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology honors Dr. Walter J. Weber, Jr, Distinguished University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Weber has been a faculty member at the University for more than 40 years and is director of the Concentrations in Environmental Sustainability (ConsEnSus) program there. He has been a Principal Investigator in the Environmental Management Science Program since its inception in 1996, with his current research in this program focused on engineered natural geosorbents for immobilizing environmental contaminants. The journal features a photograph of Dr. Weber on the cover, an article "Walter J. Weber, Jr.'s Unique Legacy," and a dozen research papers by his present and former students. The article is available at http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-a/38/i22/pdf/111504feature_petkewich.pdf

Contact: Roland F. Hirsch, SC-73, (301) 903-9009
Topic Areas:

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)


October 25, 2004

Monitoring Nanoscale Changes Within and Around Single Microbes From Environmental Samples

Research results from the Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research program (NABIR) researchers, Dr. Kenneth M. Kemner of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Dr. Kenneth H. Nealson of the University of Southern California, and colleagues appear in the October 22, 2004, issue of Science. Using a microprobe technology at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), Dr. Kemner and colleagues document changes in morphology and elemental composition of both planktonic (i.e. free-swimming) and surface adhered, single bacteria before and after exposure to high concentrations of toxic Cr(VI). Dr. Kemner uses highly focused synchrotron-based x-rays to probe biogeochemical processes occurring at the microbe-mineral interface. The analytical technique developed by Kemner is noninvasive and allows the researchers to interrogate living, hydrated biological samples at the nanometer scale (150nm). The results show that surface adhered bacteria tolerate chromium better than planktonic cells and accumulate elements such as calcium and phosphorus associated with the production of extracellular polysaccharide (EPS). X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) analyses of surface adhered bacteria implied that Cr(VI) was reduced to Cr(III) within the EPS layer. Several differences also were observed in the distribution of transition metal abundance within surface adhered cells relative to planktonic cells. These results demonstrate that it is now possible to monitor nanoscale changes in elemental composition and redox chemistry within and around a single bacterial cell, an ability that could prove invaluable during investigations of biogeochemical processes in the environment.

Contact: Robert T. Anderson, SC-75, (301) 903-5549
Topic Areas:

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


August 02, 2004

Environmental Remediation Sciences Researcher in Nature

NABIR-program researcher Dr. Jonathan R. Lloyd of the University of Manchester/UK recently published results of a study on anaerobic metal-reducing microorganisms and their impact on arsenic mobilization. The article, published in the journal Nature [430:68-71 (2004)], details how metal-reducing organisms may be involved in the mobilization of toxic arsenic within the groundwaters of West Bengal, India and Bangladesh. Dr. Lloyd and coworkers are the first to show a potential direct link between the stimulation of metal and arsenic-reducing bacteria and the mobilization of arsenic in actual aquifer sediments from the affected areas. Understanding the biogeochemical mechanisms of arsenic mobilization in these environments is a step towards identifying techniques to remove and/or prevent arsenic migration in groundwater.

Contact: Robert T. Anderson, SC-75, (301) 903-5549
Topic Areas:

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


July 26, 2004

Environmental Remediation Sciences and Genomics:GTL Researcher in the News

Dr. Derek Lovley of the University of Massachusetts was recently highlighted in a syndicated Knight-Ridder newspaper article for his work with the microbial Geobacter species. Geobacter species conserve energy to support growth via the enzymatic reduction of metals such as iron and uranium. Lovley's group, in collaboration with PNNL researcher Philip E. Long, demonstrated that native Geobacters are associated with the in situ removal of uranium from contaminated groundwater. This bio-based, in situ technique could lead to more cost effective means to remove contaminant metals from groundwater. In addition to its potential as a remediation tool, the novel attributes of Geobacter metabolism that enable it to reduce solid phase metals also enable it to reduce electrodes and produce electricity when cultured in microbial fuel cells. While the power outputs are small from such cells the efficiency of the process is quite high. Lovley maintains that further advances should enable practical use of microbial fuel cells for low power energy needs.

Contact: Robert T. Anderson, SC-75, (301) 903-5549
Topic Areas:

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


July 26, 2004

Langmuir Lecture Award Given to Environmental Remediation Sciences Researcher

Dr Darsh Wasan has been selected to give one of two 2004 Langmuir Lectures of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry at the ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia on August 24. Dr. Wasan holds the Motorola Chair in Chemical Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology, where he also is Vice President for International Affairs. His lecture will be on liquid interfaces, including disperse systems. He is carrying out research in this area in the Environmental Management Science Program. His project is focused on understanding foaming in radioactive waste streams. In the course of this research he has developed solutions to foaming problems that have been implemented in waste processing at the DOE Savannah River Site.

Contact: Roland F. Hirsch, SC-73, (301) 903-9009
Topic Areas:

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)


February 18, 2004

New Optical Sensor Technology Measures Key Environmental Contaminants

Detection and measurement of amounts of traces of toxic chemicals is a necessary first step in the cleanup of environmental contamination. However, there are very few analytical techniques that have sufficient sensitivity to measure the low levels of many contaminants at the sites for which DOE is responsible for cleanup. Office of Science research at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has demon­strated the suitability of a recently developed technique, cavity ring-down spectro­scopy, for measuring trace amounts of chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE) in the field. TCE is a major subsurface contaminant at several DOE sites. Its migration will have to be monitored at these sites for many years into the future. The NIST technique also shows promise for laboratory studies of the adsorption of molecules on surfaces, as a means of understanding chemical reactions such as those catalyzed by the surface. The studies by Andrew Pipino's research group at NIST was funded by the Biological and Environmental Research Environmental Management Science Program. An article about the fundamental concept has just been published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

Contact: Roland F. Hirsch, SC-73, (301) 903-9009
Topic Areas:

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)


February 11, 2004

New Method to Predict Behavior of Glasses Honored with American Ceramic Society Award

Existing thermochemical models of glasses containing high level radioactive waste are inadequate to allow prediction of key properties of these glasses, such as their behavior in the melters used for producing glasses for storage of the wastes. Research supported by the Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has led to improved models of high level waste glasses that will find application in both the production of the glasses and in studying the potential for loss of radionuclides through leaching from the glasses. The scientist directing this project, Dr. Theodore Besmann of the ORNL Surface Processing and Mechanics Group, will receive the Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award from the American Ceramic Society at its Annual Meeting in April 2004 for his research paper titled "Thermochemical Modeling of Oxide Glasses," which is based on his EMSP-funded research.

Contact: Roland F. Hirsch, SC-73, (301) 903-9009
Topic Areas:

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)