Anaerobic U(IV) Bio-oxidation and the Resultant Remobilization of Uranium in Contaminated Sediments

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A proposed strategy for the remediation of uranium (U) contaminated sites is based on immobilizing U by reducing the oxidized soluble U, U(VI), to form a reduced insoluble end product, U(IV). Due to the use of nitric acid in the processing of nuclear fuels, nitrate is often a co-contaminant found in many of the environments contaminated with uranium. Recent studies indicate that nitrate inhibits U(VI) reduction in sediment slurries. However, the mechanism responsible for the apparent inhibition of U(VI) reduction is unknown, i.e. preferential utilization of nitrate as an electron acceptor, direct biological oxidation of U(IV) coupled to nitrate reduction, ... continued below

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Coates, John D. June 1, 2005.

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Description

A proposed strategy for the remediation of uranium (U) contaminated sites is based on immobilizing U by reducing the oxidized soluble U, U(VI), to form a reduced insoluble end product, U(IV). Due to the use of nitric acid in the processing of nuclear fuels, nitrate is often a co-contaminant found in many of the environments contaminated with uranium. Recent studies indicate that nitrate inhibits U(VI) reduction in sediment slurries. However, the mechanism responsible for the apparent inhibition of U(VI) reduction is unknown, i.e. preferential utilization of nitrate as an electron acceptor, direct biological oxidation of U(IV) coupled to nitrate reduction, and/or abiotic oxidation by intermediates of nitrate reduction. Recent studies indicates that direct biological oxidation of U(IV) coupled to nitrate reduction may exist in situ, however, to date no organisms have been identified that can grow by this metabolism. In an effort to evaluate the potential for nitrate-dependent bio-oxidation of U(IV) in anaerobic sedimentary environments, we have initiated the enumeration of nitrate-dependent U(IV) oxidizing bacteria. Sediments, soils, and groundwater from uranium (U) contaminated sites, including subsurface sediments from the NABIR Field Research Center (FRC), as well as uncontaminated sites, including subsurface sediments from the NABIR FRC and Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant, Texas, lake sediments, and agricultural field soil, sites served as the inoculum source. Enumeration of the nitrate-dependent U(IV) oxidizing microbial population in sedimentary environments by most probable number technique have revealed sedimentary microbial populations ranging from 9.3 x 101 - 2.4 x 103 cells (g sediment)-1 in both contaminated and uncontaminated sites. Interestingly uncontaminated subsurface sediments (NABIR FRC Background core FB618 and Longhorn Texas Core BH2-18) both harbored the most numerous nitrate-dependent U(IV) oxidizing population 2.4 x 103 cells (g sediment)-1. The nitrate-dependent U(IV) oxidizing microbial population in groundwaters is less numerous ranging from 0 cells mL-1 (Well FW300, Uncontaminated Background NABIR FRC) to 4.3 x 102 cells mL-1 (Well TPB16, Contaminated Area 2 NABIR FRC). The presence of nitrate-dependent U(IV) oxidizing bacteria supports our hypothesis that bacteria capable of anaerobic U(IV) oxidation are ubiquitous and indigenous to sedimentary and groundwater environments.

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  • Report No.: NABIR-1021841-2005
  • Grant Number: None
  • DOI: 10.2172/893580 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 893580
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc873566

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  • June 1, 2005

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 4, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

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Coates, John D. Anaerobic U(IV) Bio-oxidation and the Resultant Remobilization of Uranium in Contaminated Sediments, report, June 1, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc873566/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.