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Environmental science & technology

Reoxidation of reduced uranium with iron(III) (hydr)oxides under sulfate-reducing conditions.


PMID 15871237

Abstract

In cultures of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans 620 the effects of iron(III) (hydr)oxides (hematite, goethite, and ferrihydrite) on microbial reduction and reoxidation of uranium (U) were evaluated under lactate-limited sulfate-reducing conditions. With lactate present, G20 reduced U(VI) in both 1,4-piperazinediethanesulfonate (PIPES) and bicarbonate buffer. Once lactate was depleted, however, microbially reduced U served as an electron donor to reduce Fe(III) present in iron(III) (hydr)oxides. With the same initial amount of Fe(III) (10 mmol/L) for each iron(III) (hydr)oxide, reoxidation of U(IV) was greater with hematite than with goethite orferrihydrite. As the initial mass loading of hematite increased from 0 to 20 mmol of Fe(III)/L, the rate and extent of U(IV) reoxidation increased. Subsequent addition of hematite [15 mmol of Fe(III)/L] to stationary-phase cultures containing microbially reduced U(IV) also resulted in rapid reoxidation to U(VI). Analysis by U L3-edge X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) of microbially reduced U particles yielded spectra similar to that of natural uraninite. Observations by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, selected area electron diffraction, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopic analysis confirmed that precipitated U associated with cells was uraninite with particle diameters of 3-5 nm. By the same techniques, iron sulfide precipitates were found to have a variable Fe and S stoichiometry and were not associated with cells.

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