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Title: The Effect of Bicarbonate on the Microbial Dissolution of Autunite Mineral in the Presence of Gram-Positive Bacteria

Bacteria are key players in the processes that govern fate and transport of contaminants. The uranium release from Na and Ca-autunite by Arthrobacter oxydans strain G968 was evaluated in the presence of bicarbonate ions. This bacterium was previously isolated from Hanford Site soil and in earlier prescreening tests demonstrated low tolerance to U(VI) toxicity compared to other A.oxydans isolates. Experiments were conducted using glass serum bottles as mixed bioreactors and sterile 6-well cell culture plates with inserts separating bacteria cells from mineral solids. Reactors containing phosphorus-limiting media were amended with bicarbonate ranging between 0-10 mM and metaautunite solids to provide a U(VI) concentration of 4.4 mmol/L. Results showed that in the presence of bicarbonate, A.oxydans G968 was able to enhance the release of U(VI) from Na and Ca autunite at the same capacity as other A.oxydans isolates with relatively high tolerance to U(VI). The effect of bacterial strains on autunite dissolution decreases as the concentration of bicarbonate increases. The results illustrate that direct interaction between the bacteria and the mineral is not necessary to result in U (VI) biorelease from autunite. The formation of secondary calcium-phosphate mineral phases on the surface of the mineral during the dissolution can ultimately reducemore » the natural autunite mineral contact area, which bacterial cells can access. This thereby reduces the concentration of uranium released into the solution. This study provides a better understanding of the interactions between meta-autunite and microbes in conditions mimicking arid and semiarid subsurface environments of western U.S.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 144:77-85
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Autunite mineral, Arthrobacter sp, aqueous bicarbonate, radionuclides, microscopy