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Quantitation and identification of methanogens and sulphate reducers in Olkiluoto groundwater

Technical Report:

Abstract

The GEOFUNC Project focuses on the microbiology connected to safety and risk assessment of the final disposal of high radioactive nuclear waste. Methanogenic archaea and sulphate reducing bacteria are significant groups of microorganisms in anaerobic environments, and are of crucial concern for the safe long term storage of nuclear waste in deep bedrock. The sulphate reducing bacteria are able to produce sulphide which may cause corrosion of the copper in the radioactive waste storage capsules. Methanogens, on the other hand, may produce quantities of methane from various organic carbon compounds, CO{sub 2} and H{sub 2}. Methane may both serve as carbon source for methanotrophic microbial groups, and may also cause mobilization of radionuclides, as a result of gas discharge through fractures in the bedrock. The transition zones between the sulphate rich and methane rich waters are locations for microbial processes where the methane may serve as carbon source for sulphate reducing bacteria, which in turn would produce corrosive sulphides. It has been estimated that only 1-10 % of all the microorganisms present in the environment can be isolated and cultivated. Uncultured microorganisms can be identified and their numbers in the environment quantified by identification of specific marker genes that are  More>>
Authors:
Bomberg, M; Nyyssoenen, M; Itaevaara, M [1] 
  1. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo (Finland)
Publication Date:
Aug 15, 2010
Product Type:
Technical Report
Report Number:
POSIVA-WR-10-59
Resource Relation:
Other Information: 54 refs.
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; FINLAND; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; UNDERGROUND DISPOSAL; SITE CHARACTERIZATION; ANAEROBIC CONDITIONS; SULFIDES; METHANE; REDUCTION; RISK ASSESSMENT; SULFATE-REDUCING BACTERIA; METHANOGENIC BACTERIA; CORROSION; SPENT FUELS; CONTAINERS
OSTI ID:
1010741
Research Organizations:
Posiva Oy, Helsinki (Finland)
Country of Origin:
Finland
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
TRN: FI1104015
Availability:
Available in fulltext at http://www.posiva.fi/files/1404/WR_2010-59web.pdf or as a soft back edition from Posiva Oy, Olkiluoto, 27160 Eurajoki, Finland, tel. +358-2-837231
Submitting Site:
FIN
Size:
56 p. pages
Announcement Date:
Apr 11, 2011

Technical Report:

Citation Formats

Bomberg, M, Nyyssoenen, M, and Itaevaara, M. Quantitation and identification of methanogens and sulphate reducers in Olkiluoto groundwater. Finland: N. p., 2010. Web.
Bomberg, M, Nyyssoenen, M, & Itaevaara, M. Quantitation and identification of methanogens and sulphate reducers in Olkiluoto groundwater. Finland.
Bomberg, M, Nyyssoenen, M, and Itaevaara, M. 2010. "Quantitation and identification of methanogens and sulphate reducers in Olkiluoto groundwater." Finland.
@misc{etde_1010741,
title = {Quantitation and identification of methanogens and sulphate reducers in Olkiluoto groundwater}
author = {Bomberg, M, Nyyssoenen, M, and Itaevaara, M}
abstractNote = {The GEOFUNC Project focuses on the microbiology connected to safety and risk assessment of the final disposal of high radioactive nuclear waste. Methanogenic archaea and sulphate reducing bacteria are significant groups of microorganisms in anaerobic environments, and are of crucial concern for the safe long term storage of nuclear waste in deep bedrock. The sulphate reducing bacteria are able to produce sulphide which may cause corrosion of the copper in the radioactive waste storage capsules. Methanogens, on the other hand, may produce quantities of methane from various organic carbon compounds, CO{sub 2} and H{sub 2}. Methane may both serve as carbon source for methanotrophic microbial groups, and may also cause mobilization of radionuclides, as a result of gas discharge through fractures in the bedrock. The transition zones between the sulphate rich and methane rich waters are locations for microbial processes where the methane may serve as carbon source for sulphate reducing bacteria, which in turn would produce corrosive sulphides. It has been estimated that only 1-10 % of all the microorganisms present in the environment can be isolated and cultivated. Uncultured microorganisms can be identified and their numbers in the environment quantified by identification of specific marker genes that are essential for their functions by use of molecular methods. Methanogens, for example, can be identified by their genes for methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA), which is an essential enzyme involved in the production of methane. The mcrA is specifically present only in methanogenic archaea. Sulphate reducers are identified by their dissimilatory sulphite reductase genes (dsrB), which are present in and essential for all microorganisms performing dissimilatory sulphate reducing. In the GEOFUNC project, a quantitative PCR method (qPCR) was developed for the detection of methanogens and sulphate reducers. This method is based on specific quantitative detection of marker genes involved in methanogenesis (mcrA) or sulphate reduction (dsrB) and enables the study of these microbial processes in the deep bedrock groundwater. In the GEOFUNC project, groundwater samples were studied from depths ranging from -14.5 m to -581 m comprising samples from both drillholes in Olkiluoto and groundwater stations in the ONKALO. Methanogenic archaea were present in almost all samples. The highest number of methanogens was detected in the samples ONK-PVA1 (-14.5 m), OL-KR40 (-349 to -351 m and -545 to -553 m) and OL-KR47 (-334 to -338 m) and OL-KR23 (-347 to -376 m). In the samples, where the salinity exceeded 19 g/l (Cl, Na, Ca), the number of methanogens was very low. Sulphate reducing bacteria were present in all studied samples. The highest number of sulphate reducers were detected in the samples ONK-PVA1 (-14.5 m), OL-KR23 (-347 to -376 m) and OLKR11 (-531 to -558 m) and OL-KR40 (-545 to -553 m), however, the last two samples are evident artefact mixtures of SO4 - and CH4 -rich groundwaters, thus they do not represent undisturbed in situ conditions in groundwater system. The diversity of methanogens changed in relation to depth and a clear division into phylogenetic groups containing either mcrA sequences from samples close to the land surface or mcrA sequences from deeper samples. The sulphate reducers were different in all studied samples. Despite their important ecological functions, both methanogens and sulphate reducers were present as only small fractions of the total microbial community in the Olkiluoto groundwater. The methanogens comprised at the most 0.44 % of the microbial community (-349 m) and the sulphate reducers 1.55 % (-14.5 m) and 1.3 % (-531 m). The results presented in this report give indications to the diversity and quantity of the populations of methanogenic archaea and sulphate reducing bacteria in the deep groundwater of Olkiluoto. In spite of the small number of methanogens and sulphate reducers in the environment there ecological role is significant. (orig.)}
place = {Finland}
year = {2010}
month = {Aug}
}