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Title: Iron Mineralogy and Uranium-Binding Environment in the Rhizosphere of a Wetland Soil

Wetlands mitigate the migration of groundwater contaminants through the creation of biogeochemical gradients that enhance multiple contaminant-binding processes. Our hypothesis was that wetland plants not only contribute organic carbon, produce strong redox gradients, and elevate microbial populations to soils, but together these conditions also promote the formation of Fe (oxyhydr)oxides within the plant rhizosphere that may also contribute to contaminant immobilization. Mineralogy and U binding environments of the rhizosphere (plant-impacted soil zone) were evaluated in samples collected from contaminated and non-contaminated areas of a wetland on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Based on Mossbauer spectroscopy, rhizosphere soil collected from the field study site was greatly enriched with poorly crystalline nanoparticulate Fe-oxide/ferrihydrite-like materials and nano-goethite (<15-nm). X-ray computed tomography or various microscopy techniques showed that root plaques, tens-of microns thick, were consisted of highly oriented nanoparticles in an orientation suggestive that the roots were involved in the Fe-nanoparticle formation. Because of detection limits, SEM/EDS could not confirm whether U was enriched in the rhizosphere but did demonstrate that U was enriched on root plaques. Uranium in the plaques was always found in association with P and frequently with Fe. Together these findings suggest that plants may not only altermore » soil microbial and chemical conditions, but also mineralogical conditions that may be conducive to aqueous contaminant immobilization in wetlands.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
48616; KP1704020
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Science of Total Environment, 569-570:53-64
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory