Characterization of uraninite nanoparticles produced by Shewanella oneidensis MR-1

William D. Burgos, Jeffrey T. McDonough, John M. Senko, Gengxin Zhang, Alice C. Dohnalkova, Shelly D. Kelly, Yuri Gorby, Kenneth M. Kemner

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The reduction of uranium(VI) by Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 was studied to examine the effects of bioreduction kinetics and background electrolyte on the physical properties and reactivity to re-oxidation of the biogenic uraninite, UO2(s). Bioreduction experiments were conducted with uranyl acetate as the electron acceptor and sodium lactate as the electron donor under resting cell conditions in a 30 mM NaHCO3 buffer, and in a PIPES-buffered artificial groundwater (PBAGW). MR-1 was cultured in batch mode in a defined minimal medium with a specified air-to-medium volume ratio such that electron acceptor (O2) limiting conditions were reached just when cells were harvested for subsequent experiments. The rate of U(VI) bioreduction was manipulated by varying the cell density and the incubation temperature (1.0 × 108 cell ml-1 at 20 °C or 2.0 × 108 cell ml-1 at 37 °C) to generate U(IV) solids at "fast" and "slow" rates in the two different buffers. The presence of Ca in PBAGW buffer altered U(VI) speciation and solubility, and significantly decreased U(VI) bioreduction kinetics. High resolution transmission electron microscopy was used to measure uraninite particle size distributions produced under the four different conditions. The most common primary particle size was 2.9-3.0 nm regardless of U(VI) bioreduction rate or background electrolyte. Extended X-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopy was also used to estimate uraninite particle size and was consistent with TEM results. The reactivity of the biogenic uraninite products with dissolved oxygen was tested, and neither U(VI) bioreduction rate nor background electrolyte had any statistical effect on oxidation rates. With MR-1, uraninite particle size was not controlled by the bioreduction rate of U(VI) or the background electrolyte. These results for MR-1, where U(VI) bioreduction rate had no discernible effect on uraninite particle size or oxidation rate, contrast with our recent research with Shewanella putrefaciens CN32, where U(VI) bioreduction rate strongly influenced both uraninite particle size and oxidation rate. These two studies with Shewanella species can be viewed as consistent if one assumes that particle size controls oxidation rates, so the similar uraninite particle sizes produced by MR-1 regardless of U(VI) bioreduction rate would result in similar oxidation rates. Factors that might explain why U(VI) bioreduction rate was an important control on uraninite particle size for CN32 but not for MR-1 are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4901-4915
Number of pages15
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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